Court Keeps Washington Campaign Spending Limit in Place - State and Federal Communications

October 7, 2010  •  

Court Keeps Washington Campaign Spending Limit in Place

State Capitol and Insurance BuildingThe Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the decision in Family PAC v. McKenna, et al. which declared a Washington law limiting campaign contributions in the final weeks of ballot measure campaigns unconstitutional.  U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton ruled last month that the Washington limit is an unconstitutional infringement on political speech.  Late Tuesday, a panel of Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges blocked that ruling from taking effect while the state appeals.

The three-judge panel wrote “Washington and its voters have a significant interest in preventing the State’s long-standing campaign finance laws from being upended by the courts so soon before the upcoming election.”  The Court also considered that Family PAC had failed to identify any contributions greater than $5000 that it expected to receive in the event the law would be overturned and appeared not to be participating in the upcoming general election, mitigating any harm that may come from the stay of the ruling.  Family PAC was created shortly after last year’s legal deadline for large campaign contributions had passed. The committee said it had an offer for a large donation to finance political ads but could not accept the money because of the state law.

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