Legal Center and Democracy 21 File Brief in RNC Coordination Challenge


On Monday, April 19, 2010, the Legal Center, along with Democracy 21, filed an amici brief with the en banc Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cao v. FEC . The case was filed by the RNC and others in November 2008 to challenge the party coordinated spending limits and the $5,000 political committee contribution limit as applied to coordinated spending.

The action arose from the decision of the district court to "certify" a number of constitutional questions proposed by Representative Cao and the RNC plaintiffs to the Fifth Circuit for en banc consideration. The district court also declined to certify several of plaintiffs' proposed questions, ruling they were "frivolous," and plaintiffs are also appealing this decision.

In the amici brief, the Legal Center urges the Fifth Circuit to reject the RNC's challenge. Amici argue out that the Supreme Court has both endorsed the general practice of regulating coordinated expenditures as contributions, and specifically upheld the party coordinated expenditure limits challenged in the Cao case. Acceptance of the plaintiffs' sweeping arguments, amici point out, would essentially require the overruling of past Supreme Court precedent affirming the constitutionality of restrictions on coordinated spending.

Oral argument before the en banc Court of Appeal is scheduled for May 24, 2010.

To read the brief, click here.