Court Accepts Legal Center Brief Defending Contribution Limits Despite Opposition from Illinois Liberty PAC


Today, a federal court in Illinois accepted an amici brief by the Campaign Legal Center, Chicago Appleseed and the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform defending state contribution limits over the objections of Illinois Liberty PAC, the plaintiff in the case.  The Legal Center had originally submitted the brief last week in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, with the assistance of local counsel David R. Melton and Thomas Rosenwein, in a challenge to Illinois’ contribution limits. 

“Illinois Liberty PAC is asking the court to ignore Supreme Court precedent and strike down contribution limits far higher than those previously upheld by the Supreme Court,” said Paul S. Ryan, Legal Center Senior Counsel.  “Contribution limits have repeatedly been upheld in the interest of preventing corruption or the appearance of corruption and it is ironic that this challenge is being brought against the laws of a state where the last two Governors have gone to jail for corruption.  The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that limits on contributions are constitutional as long as they are not so low as to prevent candidates and PACs from raising sufficient funds for effective advocacy.  There is no doubt that candidates and PACs can raise sufficient funds for effective advocacy under Illinois’ generous limits.”

Illinois Liberty PAC v. Madigan challenged the state’s $50,000 limit on PAC contributions to candidates, its $5,000 limit on contributions from individuals to candidates and its $10,000 limit on contributions from individuals to a PAC.  Plaintiffs claim these limits violate their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights to free and freedom of association.  Federal PAC may accept only $5,000 from individuals a mere tenth of the Illinois cap and the Supreme Court has upheld Missouri state contribution caps ranging from $275 to $1,075.

To read the Campaign Legal Center’s brief accepted by the court today, click here.