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On December 6, 2019, the Court of Appeals issued an opinion affirming the decision below, which granted in part the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction.
On August 26, 2019, a California appeals court in Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v. Newsom affirmed a decision striking down a state law that would have enabled public financing programs at the state and local level in California. The legislature enacted the law in 2016 in an effort to rein in political corruption and broaden electoral participation.
On July 11, 2019, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington affirmed a lower court decision upholding Seattle’s innovative democracy voucher public financing program. Plaintiffs challenged the public funding program as an unconstitutional use of tax dollars. The State Supreme Court rejected this argument holding that the program does not restrict plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights.
On May 30, 2019, a unanimous 6th Circuit panel upheld all challenged provisions of Kentucky’s ethics and campaign finance laws. The appellate court found that the provisions barring state legislators from receiving gifts and campaign contributions from state lobbyists were constitutional, and that plaintiffs—one sitting state senator and one legislative candidate—lacked standing to challenge the corresponding restrictions on lobbyists themselves.
On May 21, 2019, the en banc D.C. Circuit rejected all three of the Libertarian Party’s constitutional challenges to the federal contribution limits, finding that the First Amendment does not require “as applied” exceptions from facially valid contribution limits for supposedly non-corruptive bequests, and upholding the higher special-purpose “cromnibus” limits as a valid “tweak in Congress’s decades-long project to fine-tune” our campaign finance laws. The decision reaffirms that contribution limits are permissible preventative anti-corruption measures and that courts should defer to Congress’s empirical judgments about where precisely to set the dollar amounts of such limits.
Today the 5th Circuit affirmed the multi-million dollar verdict in the corruption case in Houston that CLC tried with Texas attorney Chad Dunn in 2016.
On February 28, 2019, the United States General Services Administration (GSA) settled with the Campaign Legal Center (CLC). CLC sued the GSA over its refusal to release travel information in response to CLC's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. GSA agreed to pay CLC $33,000 in attorney fees.
The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania entered an order in the Pennsylvania gaming industry campaign contribution restriction case. The court is striking down a Pennsylvania law that bars casino owners and others with a stake in the gambling industry from donating to political campaigns in the state.
The Supreme Court of the State of Washington entered an order in Seattle's public financing system case after finding that the case warrants direct review under the cited statute.
On January 4th the Court issued an opinion and order granting in part and denying in part the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction.
Today, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a split decision in this case. The district court had previously upheld all four provisions. In this decision, the judges upheld all but one of those provisions.
Yesterday, a Seventh Circuit panel of judges unanimously affirmed the constitutionality of various Illinois contribution limits. CLC filed an amicus brief in this case earlier this year.
Today, an opinion was filed in the Americans for Prosperity v. Xavier Becerra case. This case focuses on 501(c)(3) organizations disclosing their donors in accordance with the law. Campaign Legal Center filed an Amicus Curiae in this case.
District Court decision
The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld Montana's campaign finance laws, rejecting the Montanans for Community Development's claim that the laws were too broad and vague.
In Lair v. Motl, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals released an order denying the plaintiffs' request for an en banc rehearing of the case, which is a long-running challenge to Montana's campaign contribution limits.
The Fifth Circuit has denied the petition for en banc review in Zimmerman v. Austin, a case in which the city's campaign contribution limits are being challenged.