John Paul Stevens. (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/NLJ.)
Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is scheduled to testify Wednesday on Capitol Hill at a Senate hearing on the high court’s decision to strike limits on aggregate campaign contributions.
Amid a promotional tour for his new book, the 94-year-old former justice has recently criticized the divided opinion in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission as giving too much influence to money in politics.
“The voter is less important than the man who provides money to the candidate,” Stevens told The New York Times about the decision. “It’s really wrong.”
Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, who filed a bill that requires stricter reporting of political donors to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), announced Stevens as a witness in an email Monday morning. King titled the Senate Rules Committee hearing, “Dollars and Sense: How Undisclosed Money and Post-McCutcheon Campaign Finance Will Affect the 2014 Election and Beyond.”
Stevens’ testimony would overlap with a day of oral arguments across the street at the Supreme Court. He has made news for his remarks during the tour for his book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution. He told National Public Radio, for example, the federal government should legalize marijuana.
Senate Democrats also plan to call as witnesses Ann Ravel, current FEC commissioner; Trevor Potter, former FEC commissioner and former general counsel to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.; and Norm Ornstein, an election reform scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
In McCutcheon, the Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional the aggregate limit on money an individual can give political campaigns and political action committees—$123,000 per campaign cycle. Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. announced the decision for a divided court.
King filed legislation that would require political committees to notify the FEC within two days when a contributor cumulatively gives more than $1,000 in a calendar year. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, filed a companion bill in the House.