Campaign Legal Center Files Amicus Brief Supporting FEC’s Efforts To Prevent Corruption in Ted Cruz Loan Repayment Case


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed an amicus brief in Federal Election Commission v. Ted Cruz for Senate to defend a law that prevents potential corruption from arising when politicians make personal loans to their own campaigns only to repay them with donations received after Election Day.

Federal law limits candidates from using more than $250,000 in contributions raised after the date of an election to repay outstanding personal loans made to their campaign. In 2018, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-T.X.) put $260,000 of his own money into his reelection and sued the Federal Election Commission (FEC) the following year, complaining that this law prevented him from paying off the last $10,000 with post-election contributions. In June, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia sided with Sen. Cruz, striking down the limit on the amount candidates can raise post-election to repay personal loans to their campaigns.

What should concern all voters is that the funds raised for such a purpose are not the typical campaign contributions made to a candidate to support an active campaign; instead, they are solicited after the election has occurred for the sole purpose of repaying the candidate’s personal campaign loans—and thus the money effectively goes right into that candidate’s pocket.

The risk of corruption posed by what is functionally a personal “gift” to a candidate is high—a donor, possibly one voters may disapprove of, or one with business before a committee that candidate sits on, is essentially giving that candidate a personal check.

“This time, the FEC got it right,” said Paul Smith, vice president for litigation & strategy at CLC. “They are appealing to defend a law which has the clear purpose of preventing corruption. In these types of post-election loan repayments, you can trace a direct line from the donor to a candidate’s personal bank account.”

Voters have a right to know which wealthy special interests are writing checks to their elected officials, a knowledge that becomes useless if that check is written after Election Day. It should be no surprise that Americans overwhelmingly express concern over the potentially corruptive nature of post-election campaign contributions.   

At Campaign Legal Center, we are advancing democracy through law. Learn more about our work.