The US Supreme Court has struck down overall contribution limits for individual political donors.
The court ruled 5-4 that individuals could give to candidates, parties and political groups without observing an overall cap of $123,200 (£74,000).
The ruling leaves in place limits on how much donors can give to a single candidate – currently $2,600 (£1,560).
The decision is the latest in a series which have loosened restrictions on US campaign finance.
Contribution limits were established by Congress in the 1970s in an attempt to restore the public’s faith in government after President Richard Nixon’s resignation in the Watergate scandal.
‘How you choose’
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in Wednesday’s majority opinionthat overall limits “intrude without justification” on first amendment rights, the clause of the US constitution that enshrines freedom of speech.
Today’s decision eviscerates our nation’s campaign finance laws ”
Stephen BreyerSupreme Court judge
Critics say the ruling will expand even further the influence of big money in politics.
Four years ago, the Supreme Court lifted limits on political spending by nominally independent groups known as political action committees, in a case known as Citizens United.
Last year the court removed restrictions on states with a history of race-biased voting laws.
That prompted activists to say the court was making it harder to vote in but easier to buy elections.