Supreme Court decision could impact elections in TN

A decision handed down Wednesday by the nation's highest court could impact the outcome of future elections in East Tennessee.

The Supreme Court ruled donors should be allowed to donate as much money as they want to during a political campaign season.

Previously, they could only donate up to $123,000.

Donors will still be restricted on how much they can give an individual campaign. That amount cannot exceed $2,600.

More Information: Check campaign contributions for state candidates

Maryville College political science professor Dr. Mark O'Gorman said the ruling could be a game changer.

"If nothing else, it allows the big donor to no longer have to pick and choose [between candidates]," he said.

More Information: Check campaign contributions for federal candidates

He added the ruling could be a good thing for Tennesseans who believe giving to campaigns is a form of free speech.

O'Gorman said a person may dislike the ruling, if their against political action committees or "PACs". In recent years, those outside groups have spent an increasing amount of money advertising on the behalf of candidates and issues.

"This ruling allows more money to go to those campaigns and people who are concerned about their influence on politics," he said. "They're concerned it's going to be difficult to keep track of them."

Previous Story: Supreme Court lifts ban on aggregate campaign donations

However, some feel the ruling will not have that big of an impact, including former Knoxville Vice-Mayor Joe Bailey who worked on multiple presidential campaigns including one for former President Ronald Reagan.

"Those wealthy individuals that have the resources have always had the channels, the avenues to give and so this is just going to allow individuals to give directly," he said. "It could just offer transparency to the process."


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