June 25, 2012 •
Federal Judge Upholds Vermont Contribution Limits on PACs
A federal judge has upheld Vermont’s contribution limits on political action committees. Vermont Right to Life Committee (VRLC) and its related political committee, Vermont Right to Life Committee – Fund for Independent Political Expenditures (FIPE), filed suit alleging that Vermont’s registration, reporting, and disclosure requirements for PACs are too broad and unconstitutional, and that FIPE should not be subject to the $2,000 limit on PAC contributions because it only makes independent expenditures.
The judge rejected FIPE’s claim that it should not be subject to the contribution limits on the basis that there is a “fluidity of funds” between FIPE and VRLC that provides no safeguard against unlimited contributions being used to fund candidate contributions.
Secretary of State Jim Condos applauded the ruling; however, the opinion makes clear that the decision to uphold the $2,000 contribution limit weighed heavily on the facts of the case, in particular the lack of separation between FIPE and VRLC. VRLC plans to appeal the ruling.
State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting stateandfed.com.