A federal judge has denied a preliminary injunction request by SpeechNow.org. The 527 group filed a lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in February 2008, challenging federal campaign finance laws that prohibit contributions of more than $5,000 per year to political committees as an unconstitutional violation of free speech and association rights. SpeechNow.org contends that it is unconstitutional to require organizations to comply with the contribution limits for political committees as long as the speech is independent of any candidate or party, funded only by individuals, and therefore can not be corrupt. The case will likely will be appealed to the D.C. Circuit.
Bob Bauer at moresoftmoneyhardlaw.com commented that "Judge Robertson's decision against SpeechNow will not in the long run have done this organization much harm, and it may have done it a favor. [. . .] his opinion highlighted that case's difficulties, particularly the ones that the Supreme Court—speaking hear of the majority deciding cases like Davis—may pounce on."
In a very suspicious manner, the decision states; "SpeechNow's carefully constructed test-case embodiment of 'independence' does not shield it from reasonable campaign finance regulation. [. . . ] neither does the First Amendment require Congress to ignore what its members surely know — that an organization may be legally independent under FEC rules while nonetheless functioning as a fully integrated arm of a major political party."
As Bauer describes, "Robertson decides to locate SpeechNow within a controversy in which it has had no part, and in doing so, he tries to lighten his persuasive burden in arguing the constitutional merits of its claim. In effect, he moves the argument from the activity to the actor, and he implies that the actor is somewhat disreputable and its position not properly given much weight.
The ruling comes to the opposite conclusion on this issue as the Fourth Circuit in the recent North Carolina Right to Life v. Leake case.back to Blog