Contribution Limits Defended in Legal Center Brief in Illinois Liberty PAC v. Madigan
On Friday, the Campaign Legal Center, Chicago Appleseed and the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR) filed an amici brief supporting the state of Illinois’ motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging various state law contribution limits. The brief was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Illinois Liberty PAC v. Madigan, with the assistance of local counsel and ICPR executive director David R. Melton and local counsel Thomas Rosenwein.
“The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld contribution limits in the interest of preventing corruption and the appearance of corruption. The state of Illinois has seen more than its fair share of corruption, yet Illinois Liberty PAC is asking the district court to ignore precedent and strike down contribution limits far higher than those previously upheld by the Supreme Court,” said Paul S. Ryan, Legal Center Senior Counsel. “In previous challenges to contribution limits, the Supreme Court has time and again upheld such limits as long as they are not so low as to prevent candidates and PACs from raising sufficient funds for effective advocacy. Plaintiff state senator Kyle McCarter’s victorious campaigns under the generous limits make clear that the limits are constitutional.”
The lawsuit challenges the state’s $50,000 limit on PAC contributions to candidates, $5,000 limit on contributions from individuals to candidates, $10,000 limit on contributions from individuals to a PAC and $10,000 limit on contributions from corporations, labor unions and other associations to a candidate for state office. Plaintiffs claim these limits violate their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights to free and freedom of association. Federal PACs may accept only $5,000 from individuals, a mere tenth of the Illinois cap, and the Supreme Court has upheld contribution caps as low as $275.
In September the Legal Center and other amici filed a brief with the court opposing Illinois Liberty PAC’s ultimately unsuccessful attempt to get a preliminary injunction.
To read the brief filed on Friday, click here.
To read the amici brief filed by the Campaign Legal Center, Chicago Appleseed and Illinois Campaign for Political Reform on September 14, 2012, click here.