Obama makes fundraising visit to Chicago - KMSP-TV

Obama visits Chicago for DNC fundraisers

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Protesters and residents line the street at the president's second stop. (Credit: FOX 32 photographer Eddie Bartlett) Protesters and residents line the street at the president's second stop. (Credit: FOX 32 photographer Eddie Bartlett)
(Credit: FOX 32 photographer Eddie Bartlett) (Credit: FOX 32 photographer Eddie Bartlett)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

President Barack Obama was in Chicago to collect campaign contributions at two closed-door events Wednesday.

He's one of the most prolific political fundraisers in American history, but earlier Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court dramatically rewrote the rules, making it easier for wealthy donors to give millions more.

A small group gathered in the Loop at rush hour, to protest Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling. They complained that it gave the rich new power over politicians.

"It opens the door for unlimited legalized corruption and bribery," said Benjamin Singer with Common Cause Illinois.

Others said the constitution's protection of free speech includes political contributions.

"Spending money on political campaigns is a form of political speech and the First Amendment was put in place to protect political speech above all," said Jim Lakely, Director of Communications at Heartland Institute.

The Supreme Court's McCutcheon ruling left in place the current cap of $5,200 that one donor may give to any one candidate for the U.S. House or Senate. But the court lifted the previous limit of $48,600 to all such donations. About 700 donors hit that limit in the last election cycle. The ruling means they now would be able to give $5,200 to candidates in all 468 House and Senate contests; $2.43 million if they give to just one party, nearly $4.9 million if they give to both major parties.

The president, who was greeted by Gov. Quinn as he landed at O'Hare, raised money Wednesday night for the Democratic National Committee, a group likely to help Quinn's re-election campaign. While Wednesday's High Court ruling keeps in place a $32,400 limit on contributions to such committees, it now allows donors to give to as many of those national and state committees as they wish, killing the caps that used to exist.

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