Spike in Campaign Finance Lawsuits Nationwide Following Citizens United: Court Cases of Interest by the Campaign Legal Center

CLC Staff
Sep 16, 2010
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A flood of new litigation has been triggered by the U.S. Supreme Court’s highly controversial decision in Citizens United v. FEC which overturned longstanding precedent and allowed corporations and unions to use their treasury funds to impact federal elections.  While legal challenges to campaign finance laws picked up after the Roberts Court’s 2007 decision in Wisconsin Right to Life v. FEC, the spike in litigation in the wake of Citizens United is unprecedented.  Challenges are pending from Maine to Hawaii as litigants rush to get before the Roberts Court.  Seemingly no campaign finance law will be left undisturbed by the rash of new lawsuits, not even the type of disclosure laws that the Supreme Court upheld by a wide margin in Citizens United.

The Campaign Legal Center is actively involved in a great number of these cases across the country.  The following summary outlines the cases, their status, and the Legal Center’s involvement.

 

U.S. SUPREME COURT

Citizens United v. FEC (U.S. Sup. Ct.) [CLOSED]

Case Description: Citizens United filed suit to challenge the federal “electioneering communications” corporate funding restriction and disclosure requirements as applied to its film entitled Hillary: The Movie and its advertisements promoting the film.  On July 18, 2008, a three-judge panel upheld the federal law.  When the case reached the Supreme Court, plaintiff expanded the scope of the action by requesting that the Supreme Court overturn its past decisions upholding restrictions on corporate election expenditures.

Case Status: On January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court struck down the 60-year-old federal restriction on corporate expenditures in candidate elections, and overturned Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1990) and part ofMcConnell v. FEC (2003).

The FEC has been petitioned to commence a rulemaking to implement the Citizens United decision, and the Legal Center intends to participate in any such rulemaking.

CLC Position/Involvement: The CLC filed one amici brief with the district court and two amici briefs with the Supreme Court.  The district court brief and first Supreme Court brief focused on the constitutionality of the BCRA disclosure requirements.  The second Supreme Court brief, filed upon the Court’s order for reargument, addressed the broader question of the validity of the Austin and McConnelldecisions.

 

Doe v. Reed, 09-559 (U.S. Sup. Ct.)  

Case Description: Plaintiffs initiated this action to halt Washington State from making petitions connected to a state ballot measure available in response to requests made under the state Public Records Act.  Plaintiffs charged that the state law was unconstitutional in connection to ballot measure petitions, and as applied to petitions for Referenda 71, a domestic partnership ballot measure.  On September 10, 2009, the district court issued a preliminary injunction blocking the release of the petitions, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the injunction, allowing the release of petitions.  The Supreme Court, however, intervened on October 20, 2009 to again block the petitions’ release.

On October 22, 2009, the Ninth Circuit found that the disclosure of the petitions and petition signatories was justified by the governmental interest in protecting the integrity of the referenda process and providing public information.  Plaintiffs petitioned for certiorari, and the Supreme Court accepted the case.

Case Status: On June 24, 2010, the Supreme Court upheld the law facially.  The Court, however, remanded the case to the district court, allowing the consideration of plaintiffs’ as-applied claim to go forward.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case and intends to participate in the consideration of the as-applied claim.

 

RNC v. FEC (U.S. Sup. Ct.) [CLOSED]

Case Description: On November 13, 2008, the RNC brought a constitutional challenge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to the “soft money” restrictions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act 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 March 26, 2010, a three-judge panel upheld the challenged soft money restrictions.

Case Status: On June 29, 2010, the Supreme Court summarily affirmed the decision of the three-judge panel to dismiss the RNC’s as-applied challenge to the soft money restrictions.  Three justices – Justice Scalia, Justice Kennedy, and Justice Thomas – would have noted probable jurisdiction and accepted the appeal.

CLC Position/Involvement: On March 9, 2009, the CLC filed an amici brief on behalf of former Representatives Shays and Meehan and Senators McCain and Feingold.

 

FEDERAL LAW LITIGATION

Cao (RNC) v. FEC, No. 10-30146 (5th Cir.)

Case Description: On November 13, 2008, the RNC filed a challenge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Louisiana to the federal limits on coordinated spending between political parties and their candidates for federal office.  The district court granted in part plaintiffs’ motion to certify constitutional questions to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Case Status: On September 10, 2010, the Fifth Circuit rejected all of plaintiffs’ claims, and upheld the party coordinated spending limits.

CLC Position/Involvement: The CLC and D21 filed an amicus brief on April 19, 2010 with the en banc Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to defend the constitutionality of the party coordinated spending limits.

 

Koerber v. FEC, 2:08-cv-00039 (E.D.N.C.)

Case Description: In September 2008, the Committee for Truth in Politics challenged the constitutionality of the federal disclosure requirements for “electioneering communications,” and the FEC’s policy on when a group is a “political committee” under federal law.  On October 29, 2008, the district court denied plaintiffs’ request for preliminary relief, finding that plaintiffs’ challenge was not likely to succeed.  Plaintiffs appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, but then voluntarily dismissed their appeal following the Supreme Court decision inCitizens United.  Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint in the district court on May 21, 2010.

Case Status: On June 3, 2010, the district court stayed the proceedings pending a final resolution of a different case, Real Truth About Obama v. FEC.

CLC Position/Involvement: The CLC, with Democracy 21, filed amici briefs defending the law on October 14, 2008 with the district court, and on April 24, 2009with the Fourth Circuit.

 

The Real Truth About Obama, Inc. (RTAO) v. FEC, 08-cv-00483 (4th Cir.)

Case Description: RTAO requested that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia enjoin a number of FEC regulations governing when independent groups must register as federal political committees and comply with the applicable federal restrictions and disclosures.  The district court denied RTAO’s request for preliminary relief, finding that RTAO was unlikely to succeed on the merits of its case.  On August 5, 2009, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s decision, and plaintiff thereafter petitioned the Supreme Court for certiorari.

Case Status: On April 26, 2010, the Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the Fourth Circuit, remanding the case for further consideration in light of Citizens United and “the Solicitor General’s suggestion of mootness.”  On June 8, 2010, the Fourth Circuit remanded the case to the district court.

CLC Position/Involvement: The CLC, along with Democracy 21, filed amici briefs with the district court and the Fourth Circuit on August 14, 2008 and October 28, 2008, respectively.

 

SpeechNow.org v. FEC (D.C. Cir.), Nos. 08-5223, 09-5342 [CLOSED]

Case Description: In February 2008, SpeechNow.org filed suit in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia to challenge the federal contribution limits and disclosure requirements as applied to SpeechNow.org and other political committees that make only independent expenditures in elections.  On July 1, 2008, the district court denied plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction, and plaintiffs appealed the decision to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Case Status: On March 26, 2010, the D.C. Circuit struck down the federal contribution limit as applied to SpeechNow.org and other “independent expenditure committees,” but upheld the political committee disclosure requirements as applied to such groups.  The government declined to appeal the decision.

CLC Position/Involvement: On March 5, 2008, the Legal Center and Democracy 21 filed an amici brief with the district court to defend the contribution limits.  The Legal Center filed two amici briefs with the D.C. Circuit on September 30, 2009 and December 15, 2009.

 

U.S. v. O’Donnell, No. 09-50296 (9th Cir.)

Case Description: 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 as well as some of his relatives – with the understanding that he would either advance them funds or reimburse them after the contribution was made.  In June 2009, a federal district court dismissed two counts of the indictment that were based on a federal law provision, see 2 U.S.C. § 441f, which prohibited donors from making contributions “in the name of another.”  The district court found that this provision applied only to contributions made under false names, and not to a person’s reimbursement of the contributions made by others to a political campaign.

Case Status: On June 14, 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals 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.”  On June 28, 2010, O’Donnell petitioned the Ninth Circuit for a panel rehearing and petition for rehearing en banc of the decision.

CLC Position/Involvement: On September 23, 2009, the CLC, with Democracy 21, filed an amici curiae brief with the Ninth Circuit, urging the Court to correct the erroneous interpretation given to the FECA provision by the district court below.

 

STATE/MUNICIPAL LAW LITIGATION

State Disclosure Cases

Center for Individual Freedom (CIF) v. Madigan, No. 10-cv-04383 (N.D. Ill.)

Case Description: On July 12, 2010, CIF initiated an action challenging two disclosure-related provisions of Illinois law.  CIF is challenging the state provision requiring non-profit organizations to register and report if they spend over $5,000 on expenditures on behalf of or in opposition to candidates.  It also argues that the provisions regulating political committees are unconstitutionally vague and overbroad because they require groups to register and file regular disclosure reports if they accept contribution or make expenditures over $3,000 on behalf of or in opposition to candidates.

Case Status: On August 26, 2010, the district court denied plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

 

Family PAC v. Reed, 3:09-cv-05662 (W.D. Wash.)

Case Description: In October 2009, Family PAC filed suit to challenge multiple provisions of Washington’s ballot measure disclosure law.  Specifically, plaintiff challenged:

(1)   The state restriction prohibiting contributions of greater than $5,000 to ballot measure advocacy committees during the 21-day period before an election; and

(2)   The state requirement that ballot measure committees disclose the names and addresses of donors giving more than $25, and disclose employer information of donors giving more than $100.

On October 27, 2009, the court denied plaintiff’s motion for a temporary restraining order.

Case Status: On September 1, 2010, the district court upheld the $25 and $100 reporting thresholds, but struck down the $5,000 contribution limit in the 21-day pre-election period.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

 

Human Life of Washington, Inc. (“HLW”) v. Brumsickle, No. 09-35128 (9th Cir.)

Case Description: In April 2008, 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.”   The district court rejected HLW’s challenges to these disclosure provisions in January 2009, and plaintiff appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Case Status: On September 11, 2009, the Ninth Circuit postponed oral argument pending the issuance of a decision in Citizens United v. FEC; supplemental briefing was conducted in January and February of 2010 to address the applicability of theCitizens United decision.  Oral argument was heard on May 7, 2010.

CLC Position/Involvement: On June 4, 2009, the CLC filed an amicus brief with the Ninth Circuit to defend the disclosure laws.

 

National Organization for Marriage (NOM) v. McKee, No. 1:09-cv-538 (D. Maine)

Case Description: Plaintiffs challenged Maine’s ballot question committee registration statute, which requires any person or entity that receives contributions or makes expenditures over $5,000 “for the purpose of initiating, promoting, defeating or influencing in any way a ballot question” to register and file reports with the state commission.  The court denied NOM’s request for a temporary restraining order enjoining enforcement of the law on October 28, 2009.  The parties are briefing summary judgment motions on these claims.

In June 2009, NOM filed an amended complaint adding new counts 5-8 to challenge the constitutionality of Maine’s definition of “political action committee,” its regulation of “independent expenditures” and its political disclaimer requirements.  The parties agreed to consolidate the preliminary injunction hearing with the trial, and the consolidated hearing and trial on these new issues occurred on August 12, 2010.

Case Status: On August 19, 2010, the district court rejected in large part plaintiffs’ new claims, but found that (1) the phrase “influence in any way” and the term “influence” in Maine’s campaign finance law are unconstitutionally vague, and (2) a regulation requiring disclosure of any independent expenditure over $250 within 24 hours is unconstitutionally burdensome.  Plaintiffs and defendants appealed this decision on August 20, 2010 and September 2, 2010, respectively.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

 

Ohio Right to Life (ORTL) v. Ohio Election Commission, 08-cv-00492 (S.D. Ohio)

Case Description: ORTL filed suit in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Ohio to challenge multiple provisions of Ohio’s campaign finance law, including its “electioneering communications” disclosure requirements.  On September 5, 2008, the district court granted in part, and denied in part plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction, but rejected ORTL’s request to enjoin Ohio’s electioneering communications disclosure requirements.

Case Status: The case on the merits is still proceeding in the district court.  On August 18, 2010, the court granted plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint.

CLC Position/Involvement: On July 18, 2008, the Legal Center filed an amici brief on behalf of itself and Ohio Citizen Action, focusing on the constitutionality of Ohio’s disclosure requirements.

 

Protectmarriage.com v. Bowen, 2:09-cv-00058 (E.D. Calif.)

Case Description: Plaintiffs brought a challenge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California to California’s statutory requirement that ballot measure committees disclose the names and other information regarding contributors of $100 or more.  Specifically, plaintiffs seek “an as-applied blanket exemption from California’s compelled disclosure provisions because Plaintiffs have demonstrated a reasonable probability that compelled disclosure will result in threats, harassment, and reprisals because of their support for Proposition 8.”  Additionally, Plaintiffs contend that the law’s $100 threshold for disclosure of contributors is not narrowly tailored.

Case Status: The court denied plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction on January 30, 2009.  The parties are currently conducting discovery.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

 

Vermont Right to Life Committee, Inc. (VRTL) v. Sorell, 09-cv-00188 (D.Vt.)

Case Description: VRTL is challenging several aspects of Vermont campaign finance law, arguing that the law violates the First Amendment by regulating VRTL as a political committee, requiring disclaimers on electioneering communications, and requiring the reporting of “mass-media activities.”  In its amended complaint, it also challenges the state contribution limits as applied to political committees making only independent expenditures and the $100 threshold for reporting contributions to a committee.

Case Status: Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on July 19, 2010.  The Court denied the state’s motion for Rule 11 sanctions against plaintiffs’ counsel on August 9, 2010.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

 

West Virginians for Life (WVFL) v. IrelandNo. 1:08-cv-01133 (consolidated withCenter for Individual Freedom, Inc. v. Ireland, No. 1:08-cv-00190) (S.D.W.Va.)

Case Description: In June 2007, the Center for Individual Freedom (CIF) challenged multiple provisions of West Virginia’s campaign finance law, and requested a preliminary injunction to enjoin enforcement of these provisions.  TheWest Virginians for Life case was consolidated with the CIF case on October 7, 2008.

The district court on October 17, 2008 granted in part the plaintiffs’ motions for preliminary relief, and enjoined the law’s definitions of the terms “expressly advocating” and “electioneering communication.”

Case Status: On September 16, 2009, the Court granted plaintiffs’ motion to stay proceedings pending the resolution of The Real Truth About Obama v. FEC.  On September 3, 2010, the Court granted plaintiffs motion to lift the stay and for leave to file new summary judgment motions.  Summary judgment motions are scheduled to be briefed in September and October 2010.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

 

State Public Financing Cases

Cushing v. McKee, 1:10-cv-00330 (D. Maine)

Case Description: Plaintiffs are challenging the “trigger provisions” of Maine’s public financing program which provide a participating candidate with additional funds if a non-participating opponent and outside groups together outspend the participating candidate.  Plaintiffs are also challenging the state independent expenditure reporting requirements, and arguing that the contribution limits are unconstitutionally low.

Case Status: On August 5, 2010, plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, and on August 31, plaintiffs filed a motion for a temporary restraining order.  The TRO is scheduled to be fully briefed by September 13, 2010.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

 

Green Party of Connecticut v. Garfield, Nos. 09-0599, 09-0609 (2d Cir.)

Case Description: These consolidated cases challenge the constitutionality of Connecticut’s recently-enacted public financing system, and statutory ban on contributions from lobbyists, state contractors, and members of their immediate families.  On December 19, 2008, the court upheld Connecticut’s ban on “pay-to-play” campaign contributions from lobbyists and state contractors.  In a later decision, the district court struck down elements of Connecticut’s public financing program, holding that the program’s eligibility and qualification requirements imposed an unconstitutional, discriminatory burden on minor party candidates, and that the public financing program’s “trigger provisions” violated the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights.

Case Status: On July 13, 2010, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed in part and affirmed in part the district court decision.  It held that the public financing program’s “trigger provisions” were unconstitutional, but upheld the program’s eligibility and qualification requirements for minor party candidates.  The Second Circuit upheld the ban on state contractor contributions, but found the ban on lobbyist contributions unconstitutionally overbroad.

In August 2010, the Connecticut state legislature amended its campaign finance law in response to the Second Circuit decision.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center served as co-counsel to the defendant-intervenors in the district court.

 

McComish v. Bennett, Nos. 10-15165, 10-15166 (9th Cir.)

Case Description: Plaintiffs challenged the “matching funds trigger” provisions of the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Act, which provide participating candidates with additional funds if a non-participating opponent or outside group spends above a certain threshold.  On January 20, 2010, the district court struck down the trigger provisions, and defendants appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which stayed the district court’s decision during the pendency of the appeal.

On May 21, 2010, the Ninth Circuit unanimously held that the “trigger provisions” were consistent with the First Amendment, reversing the district court’s ruling on this issue.

Case Status: On June 8, 2010, the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the Ninth Circuit’s decision.  The Supreme Court’s order in effect bars the distribution of additional “trigger funds” to publicly-financed candidates in Arizona’s 2010 primary and general elections.  On August 17, 2010, plaintiffs filed a petition for a writ of certiorari.

CLC Position/Involvement: On July 24, 2009, the Legal Center filed an amicuscuriae brief with district court, and currently is monitoring the Supreme Court appeal.

 

Scott v. Roberts, No. 10-13211 (11th Cir.)

Case Description: On July 7, 2010, Richard Scott, a 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate in Florida, filed suit to challenge Florida’s millionaire’s amendment, which provides that a publicly-financed gubernatorial candidate, if running against a privately-financed candidate, will receive a dollar-for-dollar match of any amount by which the privately-funded candidate exceeds a $24.9 million spending cap.  On July 14, 2010, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida denied Scott’s request for preliminary injunction.

Case Status: On July 30, 2010, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court, declaring the trigger provision unconstitutional, questioning both whether the public funds program furthered the government’s anti-corruption interest and whether it was narrowly tailored to further that interest.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

 

Wisconsin Right to Life v. Brennan, 3:09-cv-00764 (W.D. Wisc)

Koschnick v. Doyle, 3:09-cv-00767 (W.D. Wisc)

Case Description: In December 2009, two cases were filed to challenge the trigger provisions of Wisconsin’s recently-enacted public financing program, as well as other program components.  These cases have not yet been consolidated.

Case Status: Plaintiffs in Brennan moved for summary judgment on July 9, 2010; defendants cross-moved for judgment on the pleadings on the same date.  The parties briefed these motions through August.

Plaintiffs in Koschnick moved for judgment on the pleadings on March 1, 2010; the state’s opposition was filed April 30, 2010.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

 

State Contribution Limit Cases

Committee on JOBS, et al. v. Herrera (N.D. Calif.)

Case Description: In June 2007, two political committees filed a challenge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to the constitutionality of San Francisco’s limit on contributions to political committees that make only independent expenditures in City elections.  The district court granted plaintiffs motion for a preliminary injunction enjoining the law.

Case Status: The parties are currently in settlement negotiations.

CLC Position/Involvement: On August 27, 2007, the Legal Center filed an amicibrief on behalf of itself and four other nonprofit political reform organizations supporting the constitutionality of the San Francisco ordinance.

 

Iowa Right to Life (IRTL) v. Miller, 10-cv-00416 (S.D. Iowa)

Case Description: On September 7, 2010, IRTL filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa to challenge several aspects of Iowa’s campaign finance law, including the following:

  1. The state independent expenditure disclosure requirements.  Plaintiff claims such requirements are tantamount to the imposition of political committee status on groups making independent expenditures and are therefore subject to strict scrutiny.
  2. The state restriction on corporate contributions to candidates and political parties.  Plaintiff also requests that the court reject the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Beaumont v. FEC upholding the constitutionality of corporate contribution limits.
  3. The state requirement that entities obtain annual approval from their board of directors for independent expenditures.

Case Status: On September 7, 2010, plaintiff filed its complaint and a motion for a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of the challenged provisions.  The preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled for September 15, 2010.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

 

Michigan Chamber of Commerce v. Land, 10-cv-00664 (W.D. Mich.) [CLOSED]

Case Description: On July 12, 2010, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce challenged a Michigan law, and the Secretary of State’s interpretation thereof, which prohibited the Chamber PAC from accepting corporate contributions and using them to fund independent expenditures.  Plaintiff argued that Citizen Unitedrecognized that corporate “independent expenditure activities” were fully protected by the First Amendment, and therefore corporate contributions to a PAC for the purpose of financing independent expenditures could not be restricted.

Case Status: On July 23, 2010, plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction was in part granted, and in part denied: the court preliminarily enjoined the law insofar as it restricted corporate contributions to a PAC to fund independent expenditures, but declined to enjoin the law insofar as it restricted corporate contributions to fund coordinated expenditures.  On August 30, 2010, parties stipulated to a judgment and order for a permanent injunction that would preclude the state from enforcing its corporate contribution restrictions in connection to independent expenditures.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

 

Minnesota Concerned Citizens for Life (MCCL) v. Swanson10-cv-2938 (D. Minn.)

Case Description: On July 7, 2010, MCCL challenged multiple provisions of Minnesota’s campaign finance law pertaining to the regulation of corporations.  The challenged provisions include:

  1. The state requirement that corporations establish “political funds,” subject to registration, record-keeping and reporting requirements, to make independent expenditures.
  2. The state restriction on corporate contributions to political committees making only independent expenditures.
  3. The requirement that corporations establish “conduit funds” to give contributions to parties and candidates.  Plaintiff alleges that corporations, unlike unions or other associations, are not permitted to control such funds.  Plaintiff also suggests that the court reconsider the Supreme Court’s decision in Beaumont v. FEC.

Case Status: On August 20, 2010, the court heard oral argument on plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

 

Thalheimer v. City of San Diego, No. 10-55322 (9th Cir)

Case Description: In December 2009, plaintiffs filed a constitutional challenge to several aspects of San Diego’s campaign finance laws.  One of the challenged San Diego laws provides that a “general purpose recipient committee” may only use individual contributions – not contributions from corporations, labor unions or other entities – to support or oppose a municipal candidate by making independent expenditures, and those contributions are subject to a $500 limit.  In February 2010, the district court preliminarily enjoined the City’s enforcement of the contribution limit and the City appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Case Status: The case is currently pending before the Ninth Circuit.  Oral argument is scheduled for October 4, 2010.

CLC Position/Involvement: On April 9, 2010, the Legal Center filed a brief amici curie with the Ninth Circuit on behalf of itself and two other public interest groups to support the contribution limit.

 

Yamada v. Kuramoto, 10-cv-00497 (D. Haw.)

Case Description: On August 27, 2010, plaintiffs filed suit to challenge multiple aspects of Hawaii state campaign finance law.  Challenged provisions include:

  1. The state definitions of “political committee,” “expenditure” and other terms.  Plaintiff claim these definition are both overbroad and unconstitutionally vague.
  2. The electioneering communications reporting requirements;
  3. A requirement that “advertisements,” as defined by state law, include disclaimers disclosing the sponsor of the ad and its connection to any candidate;
  4. The state restriction on contributions from government contractors; and
  5. The contribution limits applicable to independent expenditure committees.

Case Status: Plaintiffs filed their complaint and a motion for a preliminary injunction on August 27, 2010.  The preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled for October 1, 2010.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

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