February 24, 2013
Constitutionality of Limits On Contributions to National Political Parties
On February 19, the Supreme Court heard McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. In that case, the Republican Party and an Alabama resident argued that the federal law limiting the amount of money an individual can donate to all federal campaigns in a two-year period is unconstitutional.
At the same time, an arguably similar suit is being heard in the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. circuit. When Raymond Burrington died in April 2007, he left $217,734 to the national Libertarian Party. Since federal law prohibits an individual, alive or dead, from giving more than $30,800 per calendar year to a national political party, the party cannot receive the sum he left as a lump sum. The Libertarian Party is waiting for a U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. to decide if the party's lawsuit to receive a bequest warrants convening all the judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit. The test to determine whether the judges should convene is "'substantial' challenges to the constitutionality of the law."
Yesterday, the Libertarian Party expressed to the U.S. District Judge hearing the case that the McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission case before the U.S. Supreme Court shows that the constitutionality of contribution limits is still a live controversy.
See Richard Winger, Libertarian Party Lawsuit Over Bequest Left to Party May Be Aided By Recent U.S. Supreme Court Action, Ballot Access News, Feb. 23, 2013.
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