Legal Center Files Brief in Yet Another Challenge to Disclosure & Campaign Finance Laws


Today, the Campaign Legal Center, along with Democracy 21, filed an amici brief with the Eighth Circuit in Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) v. Swanson.  In the suit, the plaintiffs rely on the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Citizens United v. FEC to attack Minnesota’s restriction on corporate contributions to state candidates and political parties, and its state disclosure requirements for corporate independent expenditures. 

“This is yet another example of a campaign finance challenge targeting laws that have survived the recent onslaught of campaign finance deregulation from the Supreme Court, but it is one that conveniently ignores the Roberts Court’s strong affirmation of campaign finance disclosure,” said Legal Center counsel Tara Malloy.  “Ironically this suit comes in Minnesota, where strong disclosure laws led to significant controversy over contributions made by Target to a committee endorsing a controversial gubernatorial candidate this past election cycle.”

The district court in the MCCL case denied the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction in September of this year, and amici curiae urged the Court of Appeals to affirm this decision.

Amici argued that Citizens United invalidated only restrictions on independent expenditures by corporations and unions, and therefore did not question the constitutionality of restrictions on corporate contributions.  Further, as the amici brief pointed out, Citizens United was a powerful endorsement of the constitutionality of disclosure, with eight Justices upholding the federal disclosure provisions that were at issue in the case.  For these reasons, the amici brief argued that the plaintiffs have no basis for their challenge to Minnesota’s corporate contribution restriction or its disclosure laws.

To read the brief filed by the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21, click here.