Injunction Upheld in Arkansas Campaign Contribution Blackout Case - State and Federal Communications

January 30, 2020  •  

Injunction Upheld in Arkansas Campaign Contribution Blackout Case

Arkansas State Capitol

A panel of federal appellate judges held on January 27 that a campaign contribution blackout law that has been in place in Arkansas since 1996 is likely unconstitutional.

The panel upheld a preliminary injunction that U.S. District Judge James Moody Jr. imposed June 17 to prohibit Arkansas Code Annotated 7-6-203(e) from being enforced while its constitutionality is determined.

The law, part of a package of campaign-finance measures approved by voters in 1995, bars candidates for state offices from accepting campaign contributions more than two years before an election.

The constitutionality of the law was challenged as an infringement on the right of political expression by preventing contributions to potential candidates in the 2022 election cycle.

The state argued that the purpose of the blackout period is to prevent corruption or the appearance of corruption, but the panel said it hadn’t shown that early contributions present a greater risk of corruption than later contributions.

The Office of the Attorney General could seek a rehearing before the full 8th Circuit within 14 days.

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