WASHINGTON (AP) – The Conservative majority in the Supreme Court on Monday sided with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and overturned a provision in federal campaign finance law, a ruling a dissident judge said runs the risk of causing “more discredit “to American politics. .
The court, by a 6-3 vote, said the provision that Cruz challenged limiting the repayment of candidates’ personal loans to their campaigns violates the Constitution. The decision comes as the campaign for the 2022 midterm elections intensifies.
President John Roberts wrote to the majority that the provision “burdens the basic political discourse without proper justification.”
The Biden administration defended it as an anti-corruption measure, but Roberts wrote that the government could not demonstrate that the provision “promotes a permissible anti-corruption goal, rather than the inadmissible goal of simply limiting the amount of money in politics.”
Judge Elena Kagan disagreed and wrote that for two decades the provision proved “corrupt exchanges.” Kagan said in a dissenting speech for her and the other two Liberals in court that the majority, by overturning the provision, “gave the green light to all the sordid negotiations that Congress considered right to stop.” She said the decision “can only lead to a greater disrepute in this country’s political system”.
In an emailed statement, Cruz’s lawyer, Charles Cooper, said the ruling “is a victory for the First Amendment’s freedom of expression in the political process.”
The case involved a section of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, commonly known as the McCain-Feingold Campaign Funding Act. The provision said that if a candidate lends his campaign money before an election, the campaign cannot return more than $ 250,000 to the candidate using the money raised after election day. The provision said the loans could still be repaid with the money raised before the election.
Cruz, who has served in the Senate since 2013 and unsuccessfully ran for president in 2016, lent his campaign $ 260,000 the day before the 2018 general election for the purpose of challenging the law.
Cruz spokesman Steve Guest said in an emailed statement that the senator was “gratified” by the decision, which Guest said would “help boost our democratic process by making it easier for rivals to take over and defeat career politicians.”
The decision is the latest since Roberts became president of the judiciary in 2005, in which Conservatives broke down the limits enacted by Congress to raise and spend money to influence the election. That includes the 2010 Citizens United decision, which opened the door to unlimited independent spending in the federal election.
Kagan, in his disagreement, described a result now that the most recent provision has been overturned. A candidate could lend $ 500,000 to his campaign and, after winning, use the donors’ money to return the full amount, he said. The grateful politician could then respond to the donors’ money with “favorable legislation, perhaps valuable appointments, perhaps lucrative contracts,” he wrote. “The politician is happy; donors are happy. The only loser is the public. He inevitably suffers from government corruption. “
At another time, she said, “It doesn’t take political genius to see the rising risk of corruption: the danger of arrangements.”
Roberts, however, noted in his majority opinion that individual contributions to candidates for federal office, including those made after the candidate won the election, are limited to $ 2,900 per election.
“The dissenting predictions of dissent on the impact of today’s decision eliminate the fact that the contributions in question remain subject to these requirements,” he wrote. He noted that most states “do not impose a limit on the use of post-election contributions to repay candidates’ loans.”
Cruz argued that the provision made candidates think twice before lending money because it substantially increased the risk that no candidate loan would ever be fully repaid. A lower court had ruled that the provision was unconstitutional.
The case may be most directly relevant to candidates for federal positions who want to make large loans for their campaigns. But the administration, which rejected a request for comment after the ruling, also said that in the past the vast majority of candidate loans were for less than $ 250,000 and therefore the provision challenged by Cruz did not apply.
The government said that in the five pre-2020 election cycles, Senate candidates made 588 loans for their campaigns, about 80% of them below $ 250,000. Candidates for the House of Representatives made 3,444 loans, nearly 90 percent below $ 250,000.
The case is Federal Electoral Commission v. Ted Cruz for the Senate, 21-12.
The Supreme Court rules for Senator Cruz in the case of campaign funding
Source link The Supreme Court rules for Senator Cruz in the case of campaign funding