Appeals Court Affirms Sweeping Decision Upholding Texas Campaign Finance Laws

Today, the Texas Court of Appeals for the Third District affirmed a sweeping lower court decision upholding numerous provisions of Texas campaign finance law in Texas Democratic Party v. King Street Patriots.  The Campaign Legal Center filed amicus briefs in both the district court and the Court of Appeals defending the constitutionality of Texas’s campaign finance laws.   

“The King Street Patriots’ claims had no merit and the Court of Appeals, like the district court, saw right through the legal smoke and mirrors and upheld the laws,” said Tara Malloy, Campaign Legal Center Senior Counsel.  “The case is part of a wave of litigation across the country attempting to overturn a host of state campaign finance laws following the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. The King Street Patriot attorneys come from the same familiar stable of lawyers and groups challenging campaign finance laws from Hawaii to Maine.  As with many of the other challenges, the plaintiffs here overreach and argue that Citizens United implicitly invalidated corporate contribution restrictions – a position completely unsupported by the courts.”

The Texas Democratic Party filed an action against the King Street Patriots, alleging that the non-profit 501(c)(4) corporation made in-kind contributions to the state Republican Party in violation of Texas’s restriction on corporate political contributions, and failed to register as a “political committee” and comply with state disclosure law.  The King Street Patriots, in response, filed a broad counterclaim challenging the constitutionality of numerous provisions of Texas campaign finance law.

The lower court granted summary judgment to the Texas Democratic Party and dismissed the counterclaim, allowing the original Texas Democratic Party action to move forward on a separate track seeking damages and declaratory and injunctive relief in connection to the alleged violations of state campaign finance law.

To read the opinion of the Appeals Court, click here.

To read the brief filed by the Campaign Legal Center in the Appeals Court, click here.  

 To read the summary judgment opinion of the district court, click here.