U.S. District Court Addresses Illinois Campaign Finance Law - State and Federal Communications

March 11, 2014  •  

U.S. District Court Addresses Illinois Campaign Finance Law


Contributions limits will likely remain in place for the entire 2014 election cycle as Illinois Liberty PAC v. Madigan carries on. In July 2012, the Liberty Justice Center filed suit against Attorney General Lisa Madigan, challenging the Illinois Disclosure and Regulation of Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Act on constitutional grounds.

Specifically, Plaintiffs claim the Act violates the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause by exempting political parties from the contribution limits applicable to PACs and individuals, by lifting contribution limits in races where a self-funding candidate or independent expenditure committee spends more than a particular threshold, and by imposing lower contribution limits on PACs than are imposed on corporations, labor unions, and other organizations.

The complaint also challenges the Act’s constitutionality because it classifies legislative caucus committees as political party committees and thereby treats them more favorable than PACs, corporations, and individuals, without valid reasoning.

On March 3, U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman denied Defendant’s motion to dismiss with respect to the treatment of legislative caucus committees but granted the motion with respect to all other challenges.

Although the court suspects legislative caucus committees are sufficiently similar to political party committees for purposes of constitutional analysis, the case remains open to give both sides a fair opportunity to address the issue.


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