July 26, 2011 •
Indiana Election Division Opinion
Attorneys for the Indiana Election Division have opined that a proposed local ban on political contributions from city contractors violates state law.
The proposed Fort Wayne, Indiana ordinance prohibits companies, including subcontractors and family members, from doing business with the city if political donations were made to candidates or officials during the previous year. If a violation were not remedied by having the contributions returned, the company would be banned for three years from contracting with the city.
As quoted by The Journal Gazette, the authors of the opinion, Dale Simmons and Leslie Barnes, co-counsels at the Indiana Election Division, write “We believe the proposed ordinance unlawfully attempts to exercise the ‘power to conduct elections,’ which is a power expressly withheld from municipalities by the General Assembly. If this were not so, it would be easy to anticipate the confusion wrought in the administration of elections by numerous and conflicting local campaign finance regulations.”
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