Court Case

  • McConnell v. FEC

    Jul 28, 1998

    The lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) of 2002 - eleven suits brought by more than 80 plaintiffs - were consolidated as McConnell v. FEC. The defendants in the case were the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission; the Act's principal congressional sponsors - Senators McCain, Feingold, Snowe and Jeffords and Congressmen Meehan and Shays -were intervenor-defendants. The Legal Center's attorneys were among the counsel to the congressional sponsors.

    A three-judge trial panel of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a mixed decision on the law's constitutionality on May 1, 2003.

    The U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision on December 10, 2004, upholding all key aspects of the BCRA.

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  • FEC v. Beaumont

    Jan 9, 2003

    In 2000, plaintiffs Christine Beaumont and North Carolina Right to Life (NCRL) challenged the constitutionality of a federal law prohibiting corporations and labor unions from making direct contributions to candidates, as the prohibition applied to a nonprofit corporation whose primary purpose was to engage in political advocacy. The Supreme Court upheld the corporate contribution prohibition in 2003, stating in its 7-2 opinion that it could not hold for the plaintiffs “without recasting our understanding of the risks of harm posed by corporate political contributions, of the expressive significance of contributions, and of the consequent deference owed to legislative judgments on what to do about them.”...

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  • North Carolina Right to Life v. Leake

    Mar 1, 2005

    Plaintiff, North Carolina Right to Life, Inc., (“NCRL”) brought this action in 1999 challenging the constitutionality of North Carolina’s definition “political committee," trigger for when a communication constituted electoral advocacy requiring disclosure and the contribution limit applicable to independent expenditure political committees...

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  • Shays and Meehan v. FEC I (FEC Regulations Challenge)

    Sep 2, 2005

    In October 2002, Reps. Christopher Shays (R-CT) and Marty Meehan (D-MA) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the FEC challenging 19 regulations adopted by the FEC to implement Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA). In September 2004, the District Court struck down 15 of the 19 contested regulations and ordered the FEC to rewrite the rules. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court decision.

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  • California Pro Life Council v. Randolph

    Sep 19, 2005

    In August 2000, California Pro-Life Council (CPLC) filed a constitutional challenge to California’s reporting and disclosure requirements applicable to groups advocating for or against state ballot measures. In November 2007, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court in part. However, the court found that such organizations could be required to report contributions exceeding $1,000 which were used for ballot measure advocacy...

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  • Citizens to Save California v. FPPC

    Nov 14, 2005

    In February 2005, ballot measure committee Citizens to Save California challenged a California Fair Political Practices Commission regulation establishing a presumption that all contributions to a candidate-controlled ballot measure committee are contributions to a candidate for elective state office subject to candidate contribution limits. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s holding that the regulation conflicted with multiple provisions of the state’s Political Reform Act and thereby exceeded the FPPC’s authority; the court deemed it unnecessary to rule on the constitutional claims in the case...

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  • Kean for Congress v. FEC

    Jan 13, 2006

    Plaintiff Kean for Congress Committee brought suit against the FEC seeking judicial review of the agency’s dismissal of an administrative complaint...

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  • Randall v. Sorrell

    Feb 1, 2006

    The U.S. Supreme Court granted cert on the questions of whether Vermont’s candidate expenditure limits contribution limits ranging from $200-$400 per candidate violate the First Amendment. The Court struck down both the expenditure limits and the contributions limits...

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  • Avery v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.

    Feb 3, 2006

    Illinois’ highest court selects its judges through partisan elections. This case reached that court in 2002 following a $1.05 billion verdict against State Farm Mutual Auto. Ins. Company...

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  • Christian Civic League of Maine v. FEC

    Jun 23, 2006

    In 2006, the Christian Civic League challenged the constitutionality of BCRA’s electioneering communications provision as applied to advertisement CCL alleged it wished to broadcast naming a candidate during the period before the election.

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  • Valdes v. U.S.

    Feb 9, 2007

    In Valdes v. United States, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reviewed the conviction of a police officer under the federal gratuities statute accepting cash from an undercover FBI agent in exchange for searching law enforcement databases for information.  The D.C. Circuit, sitting en banc, reversed the conviction, finding that the police officer’s action did not rise to the level of an “official act” as required by federal law because his use of the database was not part of a pending police matter and not part of his assigned official duties.  It construed the term “official act” to include only those formal, official actions that are connected to a “class of questions or matters whose answer or disposition is determined by the government,” thereby greatly narrowing the scope and effectiveness of the federal prohibition on gratuities.

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  • Assoc. of American Physicians and Surgeons v. Brewer

    May 10, 2007

    In January 2004, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) and others filed a constitutional challenge to several aspects of Arizona’s public campaign financing system. Plaintiffs eventually voluntarily dismissed their case, with similar issues being litigated in McComish v. Bennett.

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  • Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc. v. FEC

    Jun 25, 2007

    In 2007, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, held that BCRA’s prohibition on corporate electioneering communications—defined as broadcast ads within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election that named a candidate and were targeted at the relevant voters—was unconstitutional as applied to ads that did not constitute express advocacy of the election or defeat of a candidate or its functional equivalent...

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  • Texas v. Holder

    Jul 13, 2007

    The State of Texas unsuccessfully sought preclearance approval under the Voting Rights Act of its 2011 voter photo ID law (SB 14); a three-judge court found the State failed to prove the law was non-discriminatory. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment following its decision in Shelby County v. Holder.

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  • Duke v. Leake

    Aug 22, 2007

    In August 2005, a constitutional challenge was filed against various provisions of North Carolina’s public financing system for judicial elections. In May 2008, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld all challenged provisions of North Carolina’s judicial election public financing program...

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  • Shays and Meehan v. FEC II (527 Case)

    Aug 30, 2007

    In September 2004, Reps. Christopher Shays (R-CT) and Marty Meehan (D-MA) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the FEC’s failure to issue a rule regulating so-called 527 groups as “political committees” under federal campaign finance law. The court ordered the FEC to either adequately explain its decision regulate 527 organizations on a case-by-case basis, or to adopt a rule regulating 527 organizations...

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  • Voters Education Committee v. Washington Public Disclosure Commission

    Sep 13, 2007

    In September 2004, the WA State Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) filed an enforcement action against the 527 group Voter Education Committee (VEC) for the organization’s failure to register as a state political committee and comply with state disclosure requirements. VEC filed a counter-suit challenging the state disclosure laws and claiming the state may only regulate “express advocacy,” not “issue advocacy.” Washington Supreme Court rejected VEC’s claim...

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  • Crawford v. Marion County Election Board

    Nov 13, 2007

    This case challenged the constitutionality of an Indiana law that requires voters to present either a state or federal photo identification in order to vote...

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  • Nutter v. Dougherty

    Mar 5, 2008

    In April 2006, mayoral candidate Michael Nutter filed suit to enforce Philadelphia’s newly-enacted contribution limits in connection to several individuals who allegedly were exploring mayoral candidacies but not abiding by those limits. In December 2007, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania upheld the City campaign finance law as a permissible exercise of the City’s home rule authority...

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  • Willie Ray v. The State of Texas

    Mar 6, 2008

    Willie Ray and several others brought suit (represented by CLC attorneys) challenging then-Attorney General Greg Abbott’s racially selective prosecutions of black and Latinos voters for alleged voter fraud...

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  • Shays and Meehan v. FEC III (Coordination)

    Jun 13, 2008

    In July 2006, Representatives Shays and Meehan challenged regulations promulgated by the FEC in response to an earlier case litigated by the Congressmen (Shays I). In June 2008, the Court of Appeals issued a unanimous decision invalidating almost all sections challenged by plaintiffs in the FEC’s regulations on coordination and “federal election activity.”...

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  • Davis v. FEC

    Jun 26, 2008

    In June 2006, self-funded candidate Jack Davis filed suit in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia challenging the “Millionaire’s Amendment” of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (a.k.a. McCain-Feingold Law). The U.S. Supreme Court held that the Millionaire’s Amendment violated Davis’ First Amendment rights...

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  • San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee v. City of San Jose

    Oct 14, 2008

    In July 2006, the local chamber of commerce (COMPAC) challenged San Jose’s limits on contributions to political committees making only independent expenditures in municipal elections. The district court struck down the limits on September 20, 2006. On October 14, 2008, the Ninth Circuit vacated the district court’s decision, holding that the district court should have abstained from hearing the case...

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  • Fenichel v. City of Ocean City, NJ

    Nov 10, 2008

    Plaintiffs brought the case in September 2006 to obtain a declaratory judgment confirming that the City of Ocean City, NJ has the home rule authority to adopt an ordinance that would provide for public financing in municipal elections. The Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey affirmed the trial court’s decision that Ocean City was preempted by state law with respect to public financing...

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  • Bartlett v. Strickland

    Mar 9, 2009

    This case involved the question of whether Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act requires redistricting authorities to draw election lines that allow a racial minority group to elect a candidate of choice when the minority group constitutes less than 50 percent of the voting-age population and elects their preferred candidate with ‘crossover votes’ from non-minority voters...

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  • Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One ("NAMUDNO") v. Holder

    Mar 25, 2009

    A small utility district near Austin unsuccessfully challenged the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which required the Department of Justice or the United States District Court for D.C. to approve all voting changes in certain jurisdictions before those changes could go into effect...

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  • Caperton v. Massey

    Jun 8, 2009

    In 2006, litigant Caperton filed a motion requesting that Justice Brent Benjamin of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia recuse himself from the appeal of the $50 million jury verdict in a contract dispute between two litigant mining companies. The U.S. Supreme Court held “that there is a serious risk of actual bias—based on objective and reasonable perceptions—when a person with a personal stake in a particular case had a significant and disproportionate influence in placing the judge on the case” and that recusal was required in this case...

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  • National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) v. Taylor

    Sep 8, 2009

    In February 2008, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) challenged a provision in the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA) that requires a lobbying coalition, such as NAM, to disclose any member organizations of the coalition that fund the coalition’s lobbying activities and “actively participate” in such lobbying activities. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the constitutionality of the disclosure provision on September 8, 2009...

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  • EMILY's List v. FEC

    Sep 18, 2009

    In January 2005, EMILY’s List challenged multiple FEC regulations regarding use of federal “hard money” to pay for activities directed at both state and federal elections. In 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down three challenged FEC regulations, holding that they violated the First Amendment and exceeded the FEC’s authority...

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  • Citizens United v. FEC

    Jan 21, 2010

    In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court on January 21, 2010 struck down the 60-year-old federal prohibition on corporate independent expenditures in candidate elections in Citizens United v. FEC. By a vote of 8-1, however, the Supreme Court, upheld the electioneering communications disclosure provisions that were enacted as a part of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA)...

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  • Cao (RNC) v. FEC

    Feb 11, 2010

    In November 2008, the RNC filed a challenge to the federal limits on coordinated spending between political parties and their candidates for federal office. In September 2010, the en banc Fifth Circuit rejected all of plaintiffs’ claims, and upheld the party coordinated spending limits...

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  • Unity08 v. FEC

    Mar 2, 2010

    On January 10, 2007, Unity08, a self-described “nascent political party,” brought suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging a FEC advisory opinion finding that it was a “political committee” under FECA even though it had not yet nominated its presidential and vice-presidential candidates. In March 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that that Unity08 was not subject to regulation as a political committee unless and until it selected a “clearly identified” candidate...

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  • v. FEC

    Mar 26, 2010

    In March 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down the federal contribution limits as applied to “independent expenditure committees,” finding that the Supreme Court’s analysis in Citizens United required it to “conclude that the government has no anti-corruption interest in limiting contributions to an independent expenditure group.” The court, however, upheld the political committee disclosure requirements as applied to such groups. These independent expenditure only committees are today commonly referred t to as “Super PACs.”...

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  • RNC v. FEC

    Jun 20, 2010

    In November 2008, the RNC brought a constitutional challenge to the “soft money” restrictions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) that bar the national parties from raising or spending soft money and prohibit state parties from using soft money for activities that affect federal elections, such as voter registration or GOTV drives. On June 29, 2010, the Supreme Court summarily affirmed the decision of the three-judge panel to dismiss the RNC’s challenge...

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  • Ohio Right to Life Society v. Ohio Elections Commission

    Sep 20, 2010

    Ohio Right to Life (ORTL) filed suit to challenge multiple provisions of Ohio’s campaign finance law, including its “electioneering communications” corporate funding prohibition and related disclosure requirements. In September 2008, the district court rejected ORTL’s request to enjoin Ohio’s electioneering communications disclosure requirements...

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  • United States v. O'Donnell

    Dec 6, 2010

    Pierce O’Donnell was indicted for contributing $26,000 of his money to the Edwards for President campaign through 13 individuals—primarily employees of his law firm—with the understanding that he would either advance them funds or reimburse them after the contribution was made. In June 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court decision and held that federal law “prohibits straw donor contributions, in which a defendant solicits others to donate to a candidate for federal office in their own names and furnishes the money for the gift either through an advance or a prearranged reimbursement.”...

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  • Green Party of Connecticut v. Garfield (Lenge)

    Feb 22, 2011

    These consolidated cases, initiated in 2006, challenged the constitutionality of Connecticut’s campaign finance reform legislation, which included a public financing system and pay-to-play restrictions which prohibited contributions from lobbyists, state contractors, and members of their immediate families. In a 2010 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld most of the public funding program and the ban on contributions by state contractors...

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  • Human Life of Washington, Inc. v. Brumsickle

    Feb 22, 2011

    In April 2008, Human Life of Washington (HLW) challenged the constitutionality of several components of the State of Washington’s political committee disclosure regime, including the State’s definitions of “political committee,” “independent expenditure,” and “political advertising.” In October 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court decision rejecting all claims asserted by HLW.

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  • Van Hollen v. FEC

    Apr 21, 2011

    On April 21, 2011, Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) sued the FEC in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, arguing that a 2007 regulation improperly narrowed the scope of federal disclosure requirements connected to electioneering communications...

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  • Thalheimer v. City of San Diego

    Jun 9, 2011

    In December 2009, plaintiffs filed a constitutional challenge to several provisions of San Diego’s campaign finance laws. In June 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld San Diego’s “non-individual entities” contribution prohibition as to corporations and other associations, but enjoined the prohibition as applied to political parties. The Ninth Circuit also affirmed the district court’s decision to enjoin the contribution limits as applied to independent expenditure groups...

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  • McComish (Arizona Free Enterprise) v. Bennett

    Jun 27, 2011

    In August 2008, plaintiffs challenged the “matching funds trigger provisions” of the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Act, which provided participating candidates with additional funds if a non-participating opponent or outside group spent above a certain threshold. The U.S. Supreme Court held that the “trigger provisions” violated the First Amendment rights of non-participating candidates and independent spenders...

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  • American Tradition Partnership, Inc. (ATP) v. Bullock (Montana)

    Mar 26, 2012

    In March 2010, plaintiffs filed suit to challenge Montana’s corporate expenditure restriction, M.C.A. § 13-35-227, claiming that the ban was unconstitutional under Citizens United v. FEC. On June 25, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari and summarily reversed the Montana Supreme Court’s order, citing Citizens United...

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  • League of Women Voters of Florida v. Detzner

    Apr 12, 2012

    The League of Women Voters of Florida filed this lawsuit in state court claiming that redistricting plans adopted by the Florida legislature violated the Florida Constitution’s provisions that provide that district boundaries not be drawn so as to favor any incumbent or political party over another...

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  • Minnesota Citizens Concerned For Life v. Swanson

    Sep 5, 2012

    The plaintiffs rely on the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Citizens United v. FEC to challenge Minnesota’s restriction on corporate contributions to state candidates and political parties, and its state disclosure requirements for corporate independent expenditures.

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  • South Carolina v. United States

    Oct 10, 2012

    South Carolina sought and obtained approval (preclearance) under the Voting Rights Act of a law (modified during litigation) that required voters to present a photo ID at the polls.

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  • LULAC v. Harris County

    Oct 11, 2012

    CLC attorneys represented LULAC and individual voters in Harris County Texas who filed suit challenging Harris County’s voter registration practices and procedures under several provisions of federal law. The case was eventually resolved by stipulation...

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  • Doe v. Reed

    Oct 23, 2012

    In 2009, Plaintiffs filed suit to prevent Washington State from making petitions connected to a state ballot measure publicly available under the state Public Records Act. Plaintiffs argued that the state records law was facially unconstitutional in connection to ballot measure petitions, and the law was unconstitutional as applied to petitions for Referendum 71, a domestic partnership ballot measure.  They argued that, because supporters of the measure had experienced harassment, they were entitled to an exemption from disclosure. On June 24, 2010, the Supreme Court upheld the law on its face. However, the Supreme Court remanded the case to the district court for consideration of the remaining as-applied “harassment” claim, which the district court rejected in 2011. Plaintiffs subsequently appealed to the Ninth Circuit, which  found that the release of petitions following the lower court’s decision rendered moot plaintiffs’ as-applied claim and dismissed the case.  

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  • Wisconsin Right to Life (WRTL) v. Deininger

    Nov 9, 2012

    On August 5, 2010, plaintiffs filed a sweeping lawsuit challenging numerous aspects of Wisconsin campaign finance law, included the state’s definition of “political committee” and various disclosure and reporting requirements applicable to “independent expenditure organizations.” In 2014, a Seventh Circuit panel struck down much of the “dizzying array of statutes and rules” under challenge...

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  • The Real Truth About Obama, Inc. v. FEC

    Jan 7, 2013

    In July 2008, The Real Truth About Obama filed suit to enjoin four FEC regulations governing when independent groups must register as federal political committees and comply with the applicable federal restrictions and disclosure requirements...

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  • Shelby County, AL v. Holder

    Jun 25, 2013

    A county in Alabama successfully challenged the continued constitutionality of Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act, which contained a formula identifying those jurisdictions that had to comply with the “preclearance” requirements of Section 5—i.e., receive approval from the Department of Justice or the United States District Court for D.C. before making any changes to voting rules.

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  • Wagner v. FEC

    Aug 9, 2013

    On October 19, 2011, plaintiffs filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to challenge the constitutionality of the federal government contractor contribution ban as applied to individuals who have personal services contracts with federal agencies...

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  • North Carolina NAACP v. McCrory

    Aug 12, 2013

    North Carolina NAACP v. McCrory challenged North Carolina HB 589, which eliminated same day registration, slashed the state’s early voting period by a full week, got rid of the pre-registration of 16- and 17-year olds, barred out-of-precinct provisional ballots from being counted, and instituted a strict voter ID requirement. This suit claimed that these actions violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. On April 25, 2016 a federal district court in North Carolina ruled in favor of defendants. However, the case will likely be appealed.  

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  • Illinois Liberty PAC v. Madigan

    Aug 30, 2013

    On July 24, 2012, Illinois Liberty PAC (ILP) filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois challenging the constitutionality of Illinois’ state contribution limits...

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  • Yamada v. Snipes

    Sep 12, 2013

    In August 2010, plaintiffs filed suit to challenge multiple aspects of Hawaii state campaign finance law, including the statutory definitions of “political committee” and “expenditure,” several disclosure provisions and the state restriction on contributions from government contractors. On March 21, 2011, the district court upheld all of these challenged provisions, and plaintiffs appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals...

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  • McCutcheon v. FEC

    Apr 2, 2014

    The Republican National Committee and donor Shaun McCutcheon brought suit to challenge the $74,600 aggregate limit on contributions to non-candidate committees and the $48,600 aggregate limit on contributions to candidate committees in a two-year election cycle. On April 2, 2014, the Supreme Court struck down the aggregate limits, holding that the aggregate limits did not meaningfully prevent circumvention of the base limits or otherwise prevent quid pro quo corruption or its appearance...

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  • Delaware Strong Families v. Denn

    Jun 2, 2014

    Delaware Strong Families (DSF) is challenging Delaware’s “electioneering communications” disclosure provisions both on its face and as applied to its voter guide regarding “family issues.” The district court entered a preliminary injunction against the defendants on April 8, 2014, and the case is currently on appeal to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals...

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  • Lair v. Motl

    Jul 1, 2014

    On September 6, 2011, plaintiffs filed a lawsuit challenging multiple provisions of Montana’s campaign finance law, including state limits on contributions from individuals, political committees and state political parties to candidates...

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  • Vermont Right to Life Committee (VRLC) v. Sorrell

    Jul 2, 2014

    In 2009, Vermont Right to Life Committee (VRLC) challenged Vermont’s campaign finance law's disclosure provisions and contribution limits as applied to VRLC's fund that allegedly makes only independent expenditures. The district court upheld the challenged disclosure provisions and contribution limit and the court of appeals affirmed...

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  • Texas Democratic Party v. King Street Patriots

    Aug 8, 2014

    The King Street Patriots challenged the constitutionality of numerous provisions of Texas campaign finance law, including the state restriction on corporate contributions, and the disclosure and organizational requirements applicable to political committees. The state district court rejected KSP’s challenge, and in October 2014, the Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court decision...

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  • Justice v. Hosemann

    Aug 22, 2014

    Plaintiffs filed suit to challenge the constitutionality of Mississippi’s campaign finance disclosure requirements as they apply to small groups and individuals intending to support or oppose state constitutional ballot measures.

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  • O'Keefe v. Chisholm

    Sep 24, 2014

    Plaintiffs filed suit seeking to block a nearly two-year investigation into alleged illegal coordination between Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and outside groups during the 2012 attempt to recall Walker. On September 24, 2014, the Seventh Circuit dismissed the suit...

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  • Independence Institute v. Williams

    Sep 25, 2014

    On September 2, 2014, the Independence Institute filed suit challenging the constitutionality of Colorado’s “electioneering communication” disclosure provisions, which require a group spending over $1,000 on television, radio or print ads that mention the name of a state candidate within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary election to disclose its donors...

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  • Wolfson v. Concannon

    Sep 26, 2014

    In 2009, an unsuccessful candidate for Arizona judicial office filed suit to challenge canons of the Arizona Code of Judicial Conduct, alleging that the canons violate his First Amendment rights...

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  • New York Republican State Committee v. SEC

    Sep 30, 2014

    The state Republican parties of New York and Tennessee challenged an SEC rule barring investment firms from managing state assets for two years after a firm or its associates make more than de minimis contributions to officeholders or candidates who have or would have power to award investment contracts.

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  • Public Citizen v. FEC

    Oct 22, 2014

    On January 31, 2014, Public Citizen filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the FEC’s failure to investigate whether Crossroads GPS meets the legal definition of a “political committee.” ...

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  • Citizens for Responsible Government Advocates (CRG) v. Barland

    Oct 29, 2014

    On October 2, 2014, Citizens for Responsible Government Advocates (CRG) filed suit to challenge Wisconsin state laws and regulations governing spending by outside groups coordinated with candidates. On November 6, 2014, the district court entered the parties’ stipulated preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the law as applied to CRG...

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  • Rocky Mountain Gun Owners v. Gessler

    Dec 16, 2014

    On October 17, 2014, plaintiffs filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado challenging Colorado’s electioneering communication disclosure requirements as facially overbroad, and challenging the associated $1,000 reporting threshold and the state’s private enforcement scheme for campaign finance violations under the First Amendment...

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  • Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar

    Feb 12, 2015

    Petitioner, a judicial candidate for a Florida County Court, filed suit challenging the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct rule prohibiting candidates for judicial office from personally soliciting campaign funds. The Florida Supreme Court found petitioner guilty of violating the solicitation prohibition and rejected her argument that the prohibition violated the First Amendment. The Supreme Court of the United States upheld that decision...

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  • Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission

    Feb 12, 2015

    The Arizona State Legislature is challenging a voter-passed state constitutional amendment creating an independent redistricting commission.

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  • Dickson v. Rucho

    Feb 17, 2015

    CLC Executive Director J. Gerald Hebert joined with a dozen other nationally recognized election law professors in a brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to accept a case and overturn a state supreme court ruling upholding North Carolina’s redistricting.

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  • Colorado Republican Party v. Gessler/Williams

    Mar 6, 2015

    In May 2014, the Colorado Republican Party (CRP) filed suit in state court seeking a declaratory judgment that would allow it to establish an independent expenditure committee, or “Super PAC,” that could operate outside the otherwise applicable state limits for contributions to political parties...

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  • Three Unnamed Petitioners v. Peterson

    Mar 17, 2015

    Three Unnamed Petitioners v. Peterson is a challenge to the State of Wisconsin’s restrictions on the coordination of expenditures between candidates and outside groups.

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  • Baca v. Berry

    Jun 18, 2015

    The Campaign Legal Center represents a group of voters whose lawsuit challenging Albuquerque’s city council redistricting has exposed them to possible liability for the city’s attorneys’ fees...

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  • Han-Noggle v. Albuquerque

    Jun 23, 2015

    Just like Baca v. Berry, this case involves an attempt by the City of Albuquerque to recover attorneys’ fees against individual civil rights plaintiffs.  After Mary Han, a prominent Albuquerque attorney who had filed several major police brutality cases against the Albuquerque Police Department, was found dead in her car, the police seriously bungled the death investigation.  Although the police ruled the death a suicide, the state attorney general’s office, condemning the investigation, changed the cause of death to “undetermined.”...

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  • Shapiro v. McManus

    Aug 13, 2015

    Petitioners have brought a political gerrymandering case claiming their First Amendment rights were violated and they were discriminated against because of their political party affiliations when the state drastically redrew the sixth congressional district to unseat the incumbent Republican Member of Congress and ensure the election of a Democrat. ...

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  • Evenwel v. Abbott

    Sep 28, 2015

    The case challenges the State of Texas’ use of U.S. Census total population numbers for redistricting the state’s 31 state Senate seats as is commonly done in most states.  Appellants seek to have the court compel the State of Texas to utilize the number of voting age citizens or the number of registered voters to reapportion and redistrict legislative seats.     

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  • Wittman v. Personhuballah

    Oct 7, 2015

    The case, now before the U.S. Supreme Court, is a challenge to the 2012 Congressional redistricting map passed by the Virginia Legislature. 

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  • Wright v. Sumter County Board of Elections and Registration

    Oct 26, 2015

    Plaintiff Mathis Kearse Wright Jr. alleged two changes to the Sumter County Board of Education electoral violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act because they diluted black voting power in the Georgia County’s school board elections.  The first change involved the creation of two at-large districts, which favored the election of white-preferred candidates over black-preferred candidates by diluting black voting strength.  The second change concerns the boundaries of the county’s five single-member districts, which packed black voters into only two districts.  The changes are expected to lead to a 5-2 majority of white-preferred candidates on the county board in a county that is 48% black in voting age population.  


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  • Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission

    Nov 2, 2015

    Appellants brought this challenge to the 2012 Arizona redistricting plan alleging that the minor population deviations in the plan were motivated by pro-Democratic partisanship. The district court found that they were not. Instead, the district court held that the minor population deviations were motivated by the Commission’s goal of achieving Section 5 preclearance on the first attempt. Now, Appellants urge this Court to hold that achieving Section 5 preclearance approval was not a legitimate or rational justification for the minor population deviations.

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  • Fairley v. Hattiesburg

    Feb 1, 2016

    Plaintiffs, Black residents of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, brought this Voting Rights Act challenge to the 2012 redistricting plan for Hattiesburg’s City Council. Due to shifts in population, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is now a majority-Black city.  Black voters comprise the largest voting group in Hattiesburg and voting in the city is extremely racially polarized.  In 2012, the White-majority City Council, over the objections of the Black members, adopted a redistricting plan that ensures that white majorities will control three out of the five City Council wards.  The district court held that the plan is “roughly proportional” and therefore rejected Plaintiffs’ Voting Rights Act challenge.  On appeal, Plaintiffs-Appellants argue that the plan deprives Black voters of an equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect candidates of their choice.  

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  • Figgs and Jackson v. Quitman County

    Mar 2, 2016

    The Campaign Legal Center (CLC) is representing voters in Quitman County, Miss. against a legal action seeking more than $300K in attorneys’ fees. Longtime civil rights attorney Ellis Turnage brought a lawsuit on behalf of two voters challenging the county’s redistricting plan. Before trial, plaintiffs decided to dismiss the case. The county then turned around and claimed the suit was “frivolous,” seeking attorneys’ fees against Turnage and his clients. 

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  • McDonnell v. United States

    Apr 8, 2016

    Former Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell was convicted on public corruption charges for accepting $175,000 in gifts and loans—including a Rolex watch, a custom golf bag, and expensive vacations and shopping sprees—from multi-millionaire Jonnie Williams, and then using his official position to promote the interests of Williams and his company, Star Scientific.

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  • Campaign Legal Center v. Federal Election Commission

    Apr 22, 2016

    The Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against the Federal Election Commission for dismissing five complaints that CLC and D21 filed with the agency. The dismissed complaints called for FEC investigation into donors who broke disclosure laws by hiding behind personal Limited Liability Companies (LLC) to anonymously make contributions to super PACs.

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  • Hooker v. Illinois State Board of Elections

    Jul 28, 2016

    CLC is representing seven civic groups in a friend-of-the-court brief asking the Supreme Court of Illinois to allow a constitutional amendment establishing an independent redistricting commission to be voted on by the people in November 2016.

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  • Georgia State Conference of the NAACP v. Kemp

    Sep 14, 2016

    In 2013, the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office issued an administrative policy directive that cancels voter registration applications if they do not match exactly with existing records in the Georgia Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration (SSA) databases unless the voter takes burdensome steps to resolve the problem prior to Election Day.

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  • Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections

    Sep 14, 2016

    In the wake of the 2010 census, the Virginia General Assembly redrew the legislative districts for the Virginia House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia. The General Assembly purposely drew 12 districts to each have a set majority population of minorities — specifically, an African American voting age population that met or exceeded a pre-determined 55 percent threshold. In so doing, the Virginia legislature did not consider whether such a high concentration of minorities in those districts was necessary to enable minority voters to elect candidates of their choice in those districts or, instead, merely diminished minority voters’ impact elsewhere in the state.

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  • Holmes v. FEC

    Sep 15, 2016

    The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) sets individual contribution limits to federal candidates at $2,700 per election — with primaries, general elections, runoffs and special elections each counted separately.

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  • League of Women Voters of North Carolina v. Rucho

    Sep 22, 2016

    The Campaign Legal Center is part of a litigation team representing the League of Women Voters of North Carolina as well as numerous individual voters who have challenged the state’s congressional district lines as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.

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  • Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Harris

    Dec 1, 2016

    Americans for Prosperity Foundation has failed to comply with California state law by providing its list of donors with the AG's office. They are challenging the law. CLC filed a brief in favor of the law, which seeks to protect taxpayers against fraud.

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  • Independence Institute v. FEC

    Feb 7, 2017

    On September 2, 2014, Independence Institute filed suit against the FEC, challenging the federal electioneering communications disclosure provisions enacted by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA).

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  • HCRC v. DOJ

    Feb 13, 2017

    CLC joined a coalition of human rights organizations to file a brief as amici curiae in support of cert with the Supreme Court.

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  • Veasey v. Abbott

    Apr 10, 2017

    In 2011, the Texas legislature enacted Senate Bill 14, the nation’s strictest voter photo ID law that leaves more than half a million eligible voters who do not have the requisite types of ID from fully participating in the democratic process.

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  • Zimmerman v. City of Austin

    May 11, 2017

    Zimmerman v. City of Austin is a First Amendment challenge to Austin’s municipal campaign finance law, including its contribution limits for city council candidates. CLC is arguing that Austin’s contribution limits should be upheld.

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  • Tennessee Republican Party vs. SEC

    May 19, 2017

    A state party challenge to the law preventing pay-to-play practices in municipal security services.

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  • Gill v. Whitford

    May 19, 2017

    The Campaign Legal Center is part of a litigation team representing 12 Wisconsin voters who have challenged the state’s Assembly district lines as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander in Whitford v. Nichol. Our case is the first purely partisan gerrymandering case to go to trial in 30 years.

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  • Republican Party of Louisiana v. FEC

    May 22, 2017

    The federal campaign laws have long placed limits on what individuals and certain entities can give to political parties in connection with federal elections. The Republican Party of Louisiana is asking a three-judge federal district court in D.C. to undo the “soft money” limits applicable to state and local party committees engaged in federal election activity.

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  • Cooper v. Harris

    May 22, 2017

    Overturning the district court decision and upholding the North Carolina CD 1 and CD 12 as drawn would sanction state legislatures’ explicit use of race to achieve partisan benefit. 

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