Skip to comments.Court Restores Campaign-Funding Limits (Campaign Finance Alert!)
Posted on 05/19/2003 2:18:09 PM PDT by Pyro7480
Court Restores Campaign-Funding Limits
i>By SHARON THEIMER, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - A federal court Monday temporarily restored limits on political donations and advertising that it had struck down as unconstitutional, allowing 2004 candidates to operate under the law passed by Congress last year until the Supreme Court settles the matter.
The Justice Department (news - web sites) and the law's sponsors had asked the three-judge panel handling the case to stay its entire May 2 ruling while the Supreme Court considers appeals. Interest groups, including the AFL-CIO and the National Rifle Association, had asked the lower court to block only its ruling on political ad restrictions while appeals were pending.
The court initially had made its ruling effective immediately. It struck down several provisions, including the law's ban on national party committees raising large "soft money" political contributions from corporations, unions and others. But it upheld other components of the law, including some restrictions on political ads by interest groups and a ban on the solicitation of soft money by federal officeholders.
Attorney James Bopp Jr. said his clients, including National Right to Life and the Club for Growth, planned to appeal the stay order to the federal appeals court in Washington. His clients are challenging the political ad restrictions and the law's ban on campaign contributions by minors; the court had struck down some ad restrictions and the minor ban as unconstitutional but put them back into effect when it suspended its decisions.
"The court agrees these provisions strip us of our rights, but they're going to allow them to be enforced anyway," Bopp said. "That's just astonishing."
The government and the law's sponsors had argued that without a stay, candidates could have to live with three sets of rules: those in the law that took effect Nov. 6, the lower-court ruling and an eventual Supreme Court decision, which isn't expected for several months.
The lower court agreed, and also said the fact that many findings in its May 2 ruling were the result of 2-1 votes supported the arguments for a stay.
Several interest groups asked the court to stay the part of its ruling that upheld some of the law's political ad restrictions, arguing that it threw into doubt their ability to air lobbying ads targeting members of Congress to vote for or against legislation.
The court ruled unconstitutional a provision barring a range of interest groups, including those financed with corporate or union money, from airing ads mentioning federal candidates in their districts in the month before a primary and two months before a general election.
The judges upheld backup rules barring such groups from airing ads that promote, support, attack or oppose a candidate at any time.
The National Rifle Association asked the court to stay its decision upholding the backup rules. The NRA said that while it also opposed the 30-60 day restrictions, it preferred those for now because no federal election is imminent.
Within hours of the stay order, the NRA said it planned to air an ad in Arizona urging Republican Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record) to support legislation blocking lawsuits against gun dealers whose products are used in crimes. The ad also criticizes Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer (news, bio, voting record) of New York for opposing the legislation. Schumer is seeking re-election in 2004, and the NRA said it believed it couldn't run the ad without a stay of the court's order.
"The gag is off for NRA," executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said. McCain, a lead sponsor of the campaign finance law, also is up for re-election next year.
The AFL-CIO and other groups, including National Right to Life, asked the court to block enforcement of both political ad provisions. Democrats last week filed an FEC complaint against the Club for Growth arguing that an ad it was running in South Dakota on President Bush (news - web sites)'s tax cut and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., violated the backup ban.
Why? This hurts the demontreats more than the GOP so I say "take your time..."
What's truly amazing is that this AP story didn't take the opportunity to say it was signed by the President.
Oh, wait. Now I get it. AP thinks CFR is a good thing. They wouldn't want to give him credit.
Now cut that out. I don't care how much it hurts you probably won't become a federal judge.
Same court, same 3 judges as before.
It MUST be ignored.
Everyone MUST exercise their free speech right up to the election.
That strikes me as absurd if I'm understanding things correctly.