November 5, 2012 •
District Court Decision
A Federal District Court has held Congress may constitutionally bar federal contractors from contributing to candidates, parties, and their committees.
Finding in favor of the Federal Election Committee (FEC), the United States District Court for The District of Columbia granted a summary judgment on Friday, November 2.
In Wagner v. FEC, the Court rejected challenges to the constitutionality of section 441c of Title 2 of the U.S. Code, which prohibits any vendors with contracts with the federal government from making political contributions to federal candidates or political parties.
The case, initially brought by the ACLU, asked the Court to declare the law unconstitutional as applied to individuals who have personal services contracts with federal agencies. Because federal workers who are not contractors may make federal political contributions, while contractors performing the same work may not, the suit argued section 441c violates both the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution and the First Amendment.
The Court found no First Amendment or Equal-Protection violations, noting “the dissimilar roles of contractors and employees, moreover, justify the distinct regulatory schemes that the Government has fashioned.”