Tag Archives: litigation

Update: Lobbyists Appeal Decision Upholding Ban on Advisory Board Service

In September 2012, we reported that Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a complaint filed by several registered lobbyists that challenged the Obama Administration’s policy barring lobbyists from federal advisory boards and commissions.  Although Judge Jackson acknowledged potential implications for rights guaranteed by the First Amendment … Continue Reading

Super PAC Files Challenge to New Jersey Contribution Limits

A few weeks ago the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission issued an advisory opinion indicating that it would enforce the state’s contribution limits against groups that (i) have a major purpose of influencing New Jersey elections and (ii) do so exclusively by making independent expenditures.  Although the Commission recognized that its position might be … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Declines Review in Corporate Contributions Case

This morning the Supreme Court denied review in Danielczyk v. United States, a criminal case in which the defendants challenged the century-old federal ban on direct corporate contributions to candidates.  The district court had granted a motion to dismiss Count Four of the indictment, alleging that the defendants had directed corporate money to a 2008 … Continue Reading

Supreme Court to Take Up Biennial Contribution Limits

The top story in today’s campaign finance press is the Supreme Court’s decision to hear McCutcheon v. FEC, a challenge to the Federal Election Campaign Act’s biennial limits on individual contributions to candidate and non-candidate committees.  Here are a few key take-aways. Timing.  The Court’s argument calendar is full for the remainder of the Term, … Continue Reading

Montana Contribution Limits Survive for Upcoming Election

With respect to the upcoming presidential election, it appears that the dust has settled on the Montana contribution limits litigation.  As a refresher, the district court invalidated the State’s contribution limits and the State appealed the ruling to the Ninth Circuit and requested an emergency stay pending appeal.  Yesterday the Ninth Circuit granted the stay … Continue Reading

Update on Montana Contribution Limits Litigation

As we noted last week, the Montana contribution limits case was headed to the Ninth Circuit.  Without ruling on the merits of the suit, the Ninth Circuit today “temporarily stayed” the district court’s order, which had invalidated Montana’s campaign contribution limits.  The Ninth Circuit stated that its review was “severely constrained” by the lack of findings of … Continue Reading

Federal Judge Strikes Down Montana Contribution Limits for State Races

Montana, which has become somewhat of a hotbed for campaign finance litigation, saw another one of its laws struck down yesterday.  Following a bench trial, a U.S. District Court determined that “Montana’s contribution limits in Montana Code Annotated § 13-37-216 are unconstitutional under the First Amendment” because they “prevent candidates from ‘amassing the resources necessary … Continue Reading

Electioneering Communications Start to Reemerge After D.C. Circuit’s Van Hollen Ruling

Electioneering communications, perhaps unsurprisingly, have reemerged on the airwaves following the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s September 18th reversal of a district court decision in Van Hollen v. FEC that required entities paying for electioneering communications to disclose all of their donors. As we’ve previously noted, in the wake of the district … Continue Reading

Court Upholds Aggregate Federal Contribution Limits

Earlier today, a three-judge panel in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rejected a constitutional challenge to the Federal Election Campaign Act’s (“FECA”) biennial aggregate contribution limits in McCutcheon v. FEC, No. 12-cv-1034 (D.D.C. Sept. 28, 2012).  Under FECA, an individual may contribute no more than $117,000 in the aggregate on federal … Continue Reading

Court Upholds Ban on Lobbyists Serving on Advisory Committees

Immediately after being sworn into office in 2009, President Obama issued Executive Order 13490, which barred federal lobbyists from service in his administration (on issues or in agencies they had formerly lobbied).  Then, in September 2009, the White House announced that it was encouraging federal agencies to follow this practice for appointments the agencies controlled, … Continue Reading

Reversing Van Hollen, D.C. Circuit Removes Important Legal Barrier To Television and Radio Political Ads

After a hiatus, ads that refer to federal candidates but that stop short of calling for their election or defeat may soon be returning to the airwaves.  Only two business days after oral argument, a three-judge D.C. Circuit panel today unanimously reversed a lower court decision that required issue advocacy groups that paid for an … Continue Reading

Court Halts Enforcement of STOCK Act Against Executive-Branch Employees

Late yesterday afternoon, a federal judge temporarily enjoined enforcement of the STOCK Act against executive-branch employees.  The STOCK Act, originally enacted to prohibit insider trading by members of Congress, also requires that members of Congress, their staffs, and senior executive branch employees promptly disclose any personal transactions involving securities.  The disclosures would be published on … Continue Reading

Courts Disagree on Major Purpose Requirement for Political Committees

Yesterday, the Seventh Circuit added another chapter to the long-running debate over whether, at a general level, state campaign finance laws imposing registration and disclosure requirements can be applied to entities that do not have, as their “major purpose,” influencing elections.  This test primarily affects 501(c)(4) organizations, which must limit their election-related activity in order … Continue Reading

Minnesota Regulators to Continue Enforcing Campaign Finance Law Against Super PACs

As we’ve discussed, last week the en banc U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit preliminarily struck down the Minnesota campaign finance laws imposing constitutionally burdensome disclosure obligations on associations who only make independent expenditures, such as Super PACs.  But according to recent press reports, the Director of the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public … Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Decision Strikes Down Minnesota Super PAC Restrictions

Since the Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, courts and some state attorneys general have drawn a rather firm line in the sand: independent expenditure-only entities (so-called “Super PACs”) are not subject to contribution limits, but they must comply with registration and reporting requirements.  Indeed, the Supreme Court’s statement in Citizens United that … Continue Reading

West Virginia Super PACs Freed From Contribution Limits

Yesterday, a federal judge in West Virginia ruled that the state cannot enforce its $1,000 contribution limit against Super PACs.  The ruling is only preliminary and for the duration of the litigation, but the challengers were able to demonstrate a likelihood of success on their claim that the law infringes their First Amendment rights.  In … Continue Reading