“Mi rezignis mian usonan civitanecon,” and other post-McCutcheon excuses

Image of a man's mid-torso with his hand pulling out the lining of an empty pocket from a dark pair of pants
Is this the universal gesture many lobbyists will be wishing they could make in the wake of a Supreme Court decision lifting the limits on how much they can give candidates? (Photo credit Dan Moyle via Flickr.)

Who knew that primary purpose of the individual aggregate contribution limits, just struck down by the Supreme Court in the McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission case, was to give big donors an excuse to hang up quickly but politely on a fundraising politician? “Love to help you, Diamond Jim, but I’m maxed out this cycle.”

While our first reaction is to get our hankies out for the poor put-upon donors, it occurs to us that the McCutcheon decision may well be Chief Justice John Roberts’ way of paralyzing the government. By forcing reluctant donors to hem and haw a lot more on fundraising calls while they try to think up a plausible explanation of why they can’t part with their cold hard cash (see excuse number two), what little productivity there is in Washington might disappear altogether (not that that is necessarily always a bad thing).

In the interests of ensuring the smooth functioning of Washington’s mercenary culture continues unabated, Sunlight suggests the following (actual reasons from the Federal Election Commission book) excuses for big donors who don’t want to be that much bigger:

  1. Happy to contribute, but all I have are bitcoins.
  2. My dog ate my checkbook. Do you take cash?
  3. Would love to give, but I’ve shaved my head, donned sackcloth, and donated my entire fortune to the Church of Eternal Influence. Why don’t you give them a call?
  4. Did I mention that I’ve just become a federal contractor?
  5. I just renounced my U.S. citizenship and am now a foreign national.