New York City Campaign Finance Law Challenged


A challenge to New York City’s campaign finance laws was filed today in U.S. District Court by attorney James Bopp Jr. representing various New York citizens.

The challenged law places uneven contribution limits on the amount of money an individual can contribute to a political candidate based on the individual’s occupation.

"New York’s law puts government in the role of ‘sound engineer,’ turning the volume of certain speakers up or down to achieve preferred outcomes," said Sean Parnell, president of the Center for Competitive Politics (CCP).  "That is a role that is wholly foreign to the First Amendment."

The citizens represented by Bopp are challenging the New York City statute that drastically limits how much an individual who does business with the city can contribute to a political campaign.  Most New Yorkers can give up to $4,950 to candidates in citywide elections and $2,750 to city council candidates.  But individuals who do any business with the city may only contribute $400 to candidates in city-wide races and $250 to city council candidates. New York’s law does not apply to labor organizations who deal with the city.

"The new standard creates second-class political citizens based upon how somebody makes a living," said Parnell.  "Just as this nation shamefully once counted some citizens to three-fifths of a person, the City of New York now limits certain citizens to less than one-tenth of a person."

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.