ILNews

7th Circuit enjoins limits on 'super' PAC contributions

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A prominent Terre Haute attorney known for his work challenging campaign finance laws and regulations scored another legal victory after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals enjoined state limits on contributions to what’s known as "super" political action committees.

Jim Bopp represents the Wisconsin Right to Life State Political Action Committee, which wants to contribute money to campaigns before the upcoming Wisconsin special-general elections this month. It describes these contributions as "political speech." Bopp argued the state shouldn’t be able to prohibit these independent contributions.

On Monday, a three-judge appellate panel stopped Wisconsin from trying to enforce money limits received by all types of PACs, including those “super PACs” born after the landmark ruling last year in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 130 S. Ct. 876 (2010). That decision allowed for unlimited contributions by corporations, unions, individuals, and private groups for political campaigns, and it effectively lifted many of the spending and contribution limits that had been in place for years federally and in states. Direct contributions and coordination from candidates and political parties is still prohibited, and the donors don’t have to be disclosed.

The four-page order issued by Circuit Judges David F. Hamilton, Daniel Manion, and Ilana Diamond Rovner found the Wisconsin super PAC demonstrated that it’s reasonably likely to succeed on the merits and that a pending Wisconsin Supreme Court case likely won’t resolve the constitutionality of the state law applied to the super PAC.

“Regardless of whether the Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds (Wis. Admin. Code GAB) §1.28, the aggregate contribution limit will apply to contributions WRTL-SPAC receives,” the order states, referring to similar holdings in the District of Columbia, and 4th and 9th Circuits.

With that, the federal panel granted an injunction against Wisconsin – and effectively other states that may try to impose similar limits on PACs – from enforcing a total contribution limit “on any non-coordinated expenditures by individuals or committees.” In this case, that limit was $10,000.

The judges also expedited the appeal, given the special elections are Aug. 9 and 16. The parties have until the first week of September to finish their briefing, and no extensions will be allowed without any extraordinary and unforeseen circumstances. Oral arguments are planned for the week of either Sept. 12 or 19, the order says.

“This is a victory for free speech by super PACs,” said Bopp, with law firm Bopp, Coleson & Bostrom. “It’s flatly unconstitutional to limit contributions to political committees.”
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. The ADA acts as a tax upon all for the benefit of a few. And, most importantly, the many have no individual say in whether they pay the tax. Those with handicaps suffered in military service should get a pass, but those who are handicapped by accident or birth do NOT deserve that pass. The drivel about "equal access" is spurious because the handicapped HAVE equal access, they just can't effectively use it. That is their problem, not society's. The burden to remediate should be that of those who seek the benefit of some social, constructional, or dimensional change, NOT society generally. Everybody wants to socialize the costs and concentrate the benefits of government intrusion so that they benefit and largely avoid the costs. This simply maintains the constant push to the slop trough, and explains, in part, why the nation is 20 trillion dollars in the hole.

  2. Hey 2 psychs is never enough, since it is statistically unlikely that three will ever agree on anything! New study admits this pseudo science is about as scientifically valid as astrology ... done by via fortune cookie ....John Ioannidis, professor of health research and policy at Stanford University, said the study was impressive and that its results had been eagerly awaited by the scientific community. “Sadly, the picture it paints - a 64% failure rate even among papers published in the best journals in the field - is not very nice about the current status of psychological science in general, and for fields like social psychology it is just devastating,” he said. http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/aug/27/study-delivers-bleak-verdict-on-validity-of-psychology-experiment-results

  3. Indianapolis Bar Association President John Trimble and I are on the same page, but it is a very large page with plenty of room for others to join us. As my final Res Gestae article will express in more detail in a few days, the Great Recession hastened a fundamental and permanent sea change for the global legal service profession. Every state bar is facing the same existential questions that thrust the medical profession into national healthcare reform debates. The bench, bar, and law schools must comprehensively reconsider how we define the practice of law and what it means to access justice. If the three principals of the legal service profession do not recast the vision of their roles and responsibilities soon, the marketplace will dictate those roles and responsibilities without regard for the public interests that the legal profession professes to serve.

  4. I have met some highly placed bureaucrats who vehemently disagree, Mr. Smith. This is not your father's time in America. Some ideas are just too politically incorrect too allow spoken, says those who watch over us for the good of their concept of order.

  5. Lets talk about this without forgetting that Lawyers, too, have FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND ASSOCIATION

ADVERTISEMENT