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letters | money where their mouth is

Dollars don’t vote, but they do limit voters’ options

A protester waved a flag with corporate logos and fake money at a rally outside the Supreme Court in October.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/File

We agree with Jeff Jacoby that “self-government depends on the right to participate in advocacy and debate” (“Freedom of speech through contributions is a win for liberty,” Op-ed, April 6). That’s why we side with the dissenting opinion in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission and with previous decisions that had upheld the $123,000 contribution limit struck down by the court.

As Justice Stephen Breyer says in his dissent, “where enough money calls the tune, the general public will not be heard.” Far from protecting freedom of speech, McCutcheon amplifies the voices of a handful of ultra-wealthy who can afford to give $3.6 million directly to candidates, and muffles that of the 99 percent of Americans who can’t afford to give at that level, or even $5, $10, or $100.

The Framers of the Constitution wanted Congress to be dependent “on the people alone.” Sadly, Congress is more dependent on big money in elections — a dependence that is sure to increase now. Dollars don’t vote, but they do limit voters’ options and mold the policy agenda to the desires of big money.


That’s why a constitutional amendment is necessary to curb the activist and politically naive Supreme Court and to bring our democracy back in line with the founding principle of one person, one vote.

Pam Wilmot
Executive director
Common Cause Massachusetts