CONTACT: Sarah Lee, Communications Director, Center for Competitive Politics, 770.598.961
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Today the Center for Competitive Politics legal team, led by Legal Director Allen Dickerson, filed a complaint in the US District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the biennial aggregate limits on contributions to federal candidates as a violation of the First Amendment.
The case stems from the efforts of Virginia James, a private citizen, who seeks to give contributions directly to candidates up to the biennial aggregate limit of $117,000. However, federal law allows only $46,200 of that amount, in aggregate, to be given directly to candidates; the rest must be contributed to PACs and party committees. According to Dickerson, James is not challenging the overall limit, but rather wishes to give the entirety of her contributions to candidates directly, instead of being forced to act through PACs and other political organizations.
“Current law allows citizens to contribute a certain amount of money during an election cycle. But it then says that, rather than directly supporting candidates, contributors must give 60% of that amount to political parties and PACs,” Dickerson says. “There is no legal justification for that requirement.”
Dickerson argues that the landmark campaign finance case of Buckley v Valeo, which upheld overall aggregate limits, does not allow Congress to force citizens to divide their permissible contributions in a particular way. “If Congress has already declared a certain overall level of political support to be appropriate, citizens should be entitled to directly support the candidates of their choice at that level, rather than forcing them to contribute to professional political organizations.”
The Center for Competitive Politics promotes and defends the First Amendment’s protection of political rights of speech, assembly, and petition. It is the only organization dedicated solely to protecting First Amendment political rights.