September 28, 2023 •
Indiana Supreme Court Declares State Law Bans Corporate Contributions to Independent Expenditure PACs
The Indiana Supreme Court concluded state law bans corporate contributions to independent expenditure committees or to any PAC earmarked for independent expenditures in Indiana Right to Life Victory Fund and Sarkes Tarzian, Inc. v. Diego Morales, et al.
Indiana Right To Life’s super PAC wanted to accept a $10,000 contribution from a local media company, Sarkes Tarzian, Inc. and though the state never would have stopped the transaction, the PAC sued in federal court.
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said it wanted the Indiana Supreme Court to declare whether state law bans unlimited contributions to super PACs.
The state Supreme Court ruled the law explicitly notes which groups corporations can give to and because PACs that only make independent expenditures are not mentioned, corporations cannot give anything to them.
The court’s opinion acknowledged both sides expect the federal court to stop the state from enforcing the ban because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United v. FEC that limiting corporate contributions to super PACs is unconstitutional.
The state Supreme Court decision leaves the General Assembly with the task of updating the statute to permit corporate contributions for the purpose of independent expenditures.
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