June 15, 2011 •
One PAC Is Enough
Two Bank Accounts
A Federal District Court judge has issued an injunction preventing the Federal Election Commission (FEC) from enforcing some campaign contribution limits against a political action committee planning to solicit and accept unlimited contributions.
As a single committee, the National Defense Political Action Committee (NDPAC) intends to contribute directly to candidates and political committees, and to make independent expenditures, separating the funds by using two separate bank accounts. It would maintain the statutory limits on the solicitation of funds used for direct contributions while simultaneously seeking unlimited funds for use in their independent expenditures.
The FEC had been unable to issue a binding resolution to an earlier NDPAC advisory opinion request.
In Carey v. FEC, United States District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer ruled the FEC may not enforce 2 U.S.C. §§ 441a(a)(1)(C) and 441a(a)(3), which outline contribution limits for political committees and candidates, against NDPAC with regard to independent expenditures as long as NDPAC maintains separate bank accounts, proportionally pays related administrative costs, and complies with the applicable monetary limits of each type of contribution.
The FEC maintained NDPAC should establish a second formal committee.
June 13, 2011 •
Ninth Circuit Issues Opinion in Thalheimer v. City of San Diego
Campaign finance news from San Diego
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has issued an opinion in Thalheimer v. City of San Diego. The Court upheld San Diego’s prohibition on political contributions to candidates, political parties, and political action committees by non-individual entities such as corporations and labor unions.
The district court’s injunction of the prohibition on non-individual entity contributions as it applies to political party contributions to candidates was affirmed.
The Ninth Circuit further upheld San Diego’s law prohibiting contributions to candidates outside of a 12 month pre-election window.
The district court’s decision to preliminarily enjoin a $500 limit on contributions to political committees that make only independent expenditures, which includes contributions by individual and non-individual entities was affirmed.
November 2, 2010 •
Federal Judge Denies Injunction Against Florida PAC Statute
U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle denied a request for a preliminary injunction against a Florida law that requires two or more people who want to contribute or expend $500 on a ballot issue to form a political action committee.
The plaintiffs, four Sarasota, Florida residents seeking to pool their monetary resources to buy radio ads against a proposed state constitutional amendment on the November ballot, wanted to avoid registration as a political action committee and disclosure requirements required of their desired radio advertisement.
“This ruling means that our clients will not be able to speak freely in the 2010 election,” said Paul Sherman, attorney for The Institute for Justice, who represented the plaintiffs.
For the complete story, here are two articles:
“Judge won’t block Fla. campaign law enforcement,” by Bill Kaczor in the Miami Herald.
“Judge refuses to throw out political-committee requirement of campaign finance law,” from the Central Florida Political Pulse blog on the Orlando Sentinel.
Photo of the Old Florida Capitol building by Diligent Terrier on Wikipedia.
September 20, 2010 •
South Carolina Defines Committee Too Broadly
Court Finds Part of Ethics Statute Unconstitutional
A U.S. District Court has invalidated a South Carolina statute defining committees, including those commonly known as PACs. In South Carolina Citizens for Life, Inc. v Krawcheck, the Court found the South Carolina Ethics Act placed significant burdens on groups qualifying as committees without giving meaningful consideration of a group’s major purpose, threatening to chill their First Amendment rights. Specifically, the definition of committee in S.C.C. §8-13-1300(6) could encompass any group, without reference to the entity’s major purpose, and was unconstitutionally overbroad.
Photo of the South Carolina statehouse by Nikopoley on Wikipedia.
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