By Jack Fitzpatrick (@jackfitzdc)
TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: The Supreme Court struck down the overall limit on individuals' political contributions, saying it limited free speech by putting a cap on how many candidates or issues people could support. NASA announced it is suspending all contact with the Russian government, outside of International Space Station activities. Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell denied misleading Congress or covering up information following the 2012 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya. DCCC Chairman Steve Israel admitted things aren't looking great for House Democrats in the midterms. And it turns out President Obama's selfie with David Ortiz was just a plot for free advertising by Samsung.
SUPREME COURT ENDS AGGREGATE CONTRIBUTION LIMIT: The 5-4 ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission struck down the limit to total donations in a two-year election cycle, but it did not affect the $2,600 per candidate limit. So political donors will still have to limit the size of individual donations but will be able to give unlimited amounts of money overall. (Elahe Izadi, NJ)
ROBERTS'S OPINION: "Money in politics may at times seem repugnant to some, but so too does much of what the First Amendment vigorously protects. If the First Amendment protects flag burning, funeral protests, and Nazi parades—despite the profound offense such spectacles cause—it surely protects political campaign speech despite popular opposition."
NASA CUTS OFF WORK WITH RUSSIA OVER UKRAINE: The agency is suspending all contact with Russian officials over the country's annexation of Crimea, even stopping the exchange of emails. International Space Station activities are exempt from the action. (Arielle Duhaime-Ross, The Verge)
MORELL DENIES BENGHAZI THEORIES: Morell said politics didn't affect his editing of talking points following the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi. "There is no truth to the allegations that the CIA or I 'cooked the books' with regard to what happened in Benghazi and then tried to cover this up after the fact," he said in written testimony. (Jordain Carney, NJ)
SENATORS ACCUSE GM OF 'CULTURE OF COVER-UP': A day after taking heat from a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, GM CEO Mary Barra faced a hostile Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. Sen. Claire McCaskill said the company had a "culture of cover-up that allowed an engineer to lie under oath repeatedly." Sen. Barbara Boxer mocked Barra's attempts to distance herself from GM's failure to notify people of a dangerous ignition-switch flaw, saying, "You don't know anything about anything." (Keith Laing, The Hill)
TOMORROW IN ONE PARAGRAPH: President Obama will host the members of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams at a White House event. Quinnipiac University will release polling data on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Hillary Clinton at 6 a.m. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation holds its annual Aviation Summit at 8 a.m.
DCCC CHAIR: THERE'S A 'TOUGH CLIMATE': Rep. Steve Israel said things aren't looking great for House Democrats right now, and declined to predict whether the party could win the House in November. (Alex Roarty, NJ)
THE TRUCE WITH DRUGS: America isn't so anti-pot, a Pew poll finds. Nearly 70 percent said alcohol was worse for people's health. (Brian Resnick, NJ)
PALIN: RYAN'S BUDGET IS A 'JOKE': Paul Ryan's budget made enemies quickly, but he probably didn't expect Sarah Palin to accuse him of not going far enough to cut spending. (Rebecca Shabad, The Hill)
THE TRUTH BEHIND THE BIG PAPI/OBAMA SELFIE: The president's selfie with David Ortiz was no spontaneous act. Samsung was behind it all along. (Matt Vasilogambros, NJ)
GM MUST HAVE A BIG PROBLEM: If it hired attorney Ken Feinberg, who's been in charge of paying damages after some truly disastrous situations, including the Boston Marathon bombing, the BP oil spill, and 9/11. (Tim Fernholz, Quartz)
A LESS INFLUENTIAL MICHIGAN: The retirements of Sen. Carl Levin and Reps. John Dingell, Dave Camp, and Mike Rogers take away 130 years of congressional experience from the state's delegation. (Tim Alberta, NJ)
WHY DEMOCRATS CAN'T COUNT ON RICH SUBURBS: If you thought Terry McAuliffe's win in Virginia's gubernatorial race last fall was a good sign for Democrats in this year's midterms, you were wrong. Few Democrats have the luxury of facing a polarized candidate like Ken Cuccinelli. (David Wasserman, FiveThirtyEight)
LAST NIGHT'S LATE-NIGHT FUNNIES IN UNDER 3 MINUTES: John Boehner's Instagram account is thrilling: Most recently, he posted a video of himself mowing his lawn. (Reena Flores, NJ)
DEMOCRATS' MIDTERM BLUES, IN ONE GRAPH: Even with Obama's low approval rating, Democrats would have a 70 percent chance of keeping the Senate if this were a presidential election. As it stands now, they have a 10 percent chance. (Eric McGhee, WaPo)
A DIVIDED CITY: The difference between Vince Gray and Muriel Bowser came down to east vs. west. (Mellnik/Chow, WaPo)