Lots of Amicus Briefs in Gill v. Whitford, the WI Partisan Gerrymandering Case

…tate Assembly Amicus Brief in Support of Appellants (August 4, 2017) Republican National Committee Amicus Brief in Support of Appellants (August 4, 2017) States of Texas, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and West Virginia Amicus Brief in Support of Appellants (August 4, 2017) Plaintiffs in Maryland Redistricting Litigation, Benisek v. Lamone, Amicus…

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Federal Court Finds Louisiana Engaged in Intentional Racial Discrimination in At-Large Judicial Elections [Corrected]

…se in maintaining the at-large electoral scheme for the 32nd JDC was to limit the opportunity of black individuals to participate meaningfully and effectively in the political process to elect judges of their choice. Correction: The original version of this post incorrectly stated the entity that the court found engaged in intentional discrimination: it is the state of Louisiana, not the county. See also this release from the NAACP LDF….

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“The Congressional Map Is Historically Biased Against Democrats”

…me Court. In the last few decades, Democrats have expanded their advantages in California and New York — states with huge urban centers that combined to give Clinton a 6 million vote edge, more than twice her national margin. But those two states elect only 4 percent of the Senate. Meanwhile, Republicans have made huge advances in small rural states — think Arkansas, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana and West Virginia — that wield…

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Breaking: Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Ohio Motor-Voter Case; Remands NC Redistricting Case

…d as “resulting” in a voter’s removal for failure to vote. Ohio has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. The amicus brief – filed last Friday by the state of Georgia and 14 other states (Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia) asks the Court to hear the case and clarify whether use of non-voting data as a trigger violates…

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“Supreme Court Affirms Ban on ‘Soft Money’ in Campaigns”

…and outside advocates of new restrictions on political money said they were dismayed that Gorsuch, along with conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, went out of his way to say he wanted the court to hear oral arguments on the Louisiana case. “It’s troubling that we’re seeing the most recent appointment to the Supreme Court, Justice Gorsuch, side with the most conservative on this, Justice Thomas,” said David Donnelly, president and CEO of Every…

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More Details on How Kobach is Assembling Fraudulent Fraud Squad Voting Commission

…say in who gets selected to serve on a federal election fraud panel led by Vice President Mike Pence…. Merrill said he knew about the plan to form a panel since last February after the National Association of Secretaries of State sent a team of secretaries of state to meet with Pence. According to Merrill, the team included three secretaries of state: Connie Hudson of Indiana, Kris Kobach of Kansas and Tom Schedler of Louisiana. Kobach…

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“Is the Supreme Court about to give state and local political parties a boost?”

…f the few parts that remains is the restrictions on state and local parties. The Supreme Court now has a chance to rectify this element of the McConnell decision. Currently before the court is the case of Republican Party of Louisiana v. Federal Election Commission, which challenges those legal restrictions on state and local party activity. The party’s position is simple: Why can super PACs, or a nonprofit like Planned Parenthood Action…

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“Supreme Court Urged to Take ‘Soft-Money’ Campaign Finance Case”

…Supreme Court rulings have narrowed the legal definition of corruption and cleared the way to strike down federal restrictions on “soft-money” contributions to political parties, a new court filing said (Republican Party of Louisiana v. Federal Election Commission, U.S., 16-865, brief proposing motion to dismiss or affirm filed 5/1/17). The Supreme Court filing came in a challenge to the federal soft-money rules brought by the Republican Party…

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“Voting Rights on Trial on the Bayou”

…ior so bizarre as to constitute a sustained legal miscarriage of justice. Pickett’s success, then, really seems to highlight the almost absurd sequence of events that had to take place for just one black victory. To be sure, Louisiana state officials characterize the NAACP lawsuit, which LDF lawyers are arguing in court this week, as a weak case at best. They cite that the black minority is neither large nor compact enough to constitute an…

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In Surprise Move, Trump DOJ Defends McCain-Feingold’s Soft Money Limits at #SCOTUS

Via Bloomberg BNA, comes news of this motion to dismiss or affirm a challenge brought by the Republican Party of Louisiana to the soft money limits in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (the McCain-Feingold law). The Court upheld those limits in McConnell v. FEC, but there have been a number of subsequent challenges to the provisions, and this one is the latest. I was expecting that a Trump Administration with White House counsel Don…

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“‘Soft Money’ Case a Test for Trump, Supreme Court”

…rovide the first indication of whether the Trump administration will seek to uphold or challenge longstanding campaign finance laws that restrict unlimited “soft money” contributions to political parties (Republican Party of Louisiana v. Federal Election Commission, U.S., No. 16-865, jurisdictional statement filed 1/6/17). The Supreme Court has set a deadline of March 13 for the Justice Department to file a response to a jurisdictional statement…

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“Guest column: At-large judge seats disregard black voters”

…y admissions policies. That lawsuit and more filed by my father, alongside Thurgood Marshall and other civil rights advocates, paved the way for the end of legally sanctioned American apartheid in many public institutions in Louisiana. Regrettably, more than 50 years after we fought to dismantle racial segregation in my home state, another challenge has to be waged to bring racial inclusion to another Louisiana public institution — the 32nd…

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“‘Soft Money’ Challenge Heads to Supreme Court”

…e law passed in 2002. The filing of a “jurisdictional statement” appealing to the high court had been expected since a lower court ruling last fall, which rejected the soft money challenge launched by the Republican Party of Louisiana. The party committee sued the Federal Election Commission, the agency that enforces restrictions on campaign money to national, state and local parties….. How DOJ handles this case under the administration of…

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“New Campaign Finance Cases May Head to Supreme Court”

…said at a national government ethics conference in New Orleans. It’s still unclear, however, whether the high court will resume a march to deregulating campaigns that has paused in recent years, following the court’s 2014 ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the last major case in this area. Among the cases that could come before the justices in the year ahead is one launched by the Republican Party of Louisiana and…

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“Trump blasts early voting: ‘Many things can go wrong’”

Politico: Donald Trump on Friday expressed support for restricting voting rights. Stumping for Louisiana Senate candidate John Kennedy, Trump urged supporters to help elect the Republican state treasurer to the U.S. Senate, a victory that would give the GOP a 52-48 majority in the upper chamber. But the president-elect also recalled seeing extremely long lines in Florida during the state’s early voting period ahead of Election Day, suggesting…

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“SCOTUS hearing VA & NC Gerrymandering cases today. Suffice to say, Racial Gerrymandering in Deep South states is even worse”

…ven within the South, of how packed a district needs to be in order for voters to have the ability to elect an African American to the state legislature. We find that the black population threshold required for a Deep South (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina) state legislative district to elect a black lawmaker is significantly higher than the black population threshold in districts in Rim South or Non-South states…….

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“Campaign Finance Laws Poised for Rollback Under Trump”

…h as Citizens United v. FEC, which helped usher in big-money super PACs that can accept unlimited contributions from corporations, unions and individuals. Bopp said Friday he was filing an appeal to the high court in a case, Louisiana Republican Party v. FEC, that challenges soft money bans in state and local parties. “With the prospect of a Trump appointment of a conservative to the court, that case has very bright prospects,” Bopp said. As I…

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“Wyoming is requiring citizenship proof from naturalized voters”

…y it has deterred people from casting ballots. State Election Director Kai Schon said some noncitizens can apply for driver’s licenses and that information did not make it into the voter registration system until recently, making it necessary to ask some people to show they are qualified to vote.  I smell a lawsuit.  We had a similar case in Louisiana. …

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“Trump’s Claims of ‘Rigged’ Election Could Hurt His Own Campaign, Research Shows”

…: But his rhetoric could also have the impact of hurting his own campaign, according to some of the latest research into the topic. In one experiment conducted by Adam Seth Levine of Cornell University and Robyn L. Stiles of Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication, different groups of voters were given different messages in an online ad touting voter registration — including “Registering is quick, easy, & free,”…

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“Hunter pushes Coast Guard to lease or buy ship owned by top campaign donor”

…an oil rig it was towing. The rig ran aground off Kodiak Island in Alaska. The Coast Guard says the Aiviq does not meet its needs, in particular because the vessel lacks military capabilities. Hunter has argued that the ship is a necessary and viable fleet option as melting polar ice opens the region to commercial traffic, putting more ships at risk. Contributors connected to the Aiviq’s owner, Louisiana-based shipbuilder Edison Chouest…

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“Deficiencies of Proportional Division of Electoral Votes”

…0 53.46% 45.00% 55.00% 1.68% Michigan 16 54.80% 53.13% 59.38% 1.68% Maryland 10 63.32% 55.00% 65.00% 1.76% New Jersey 14 58.95% 53.57% 60.71% 1.97% Virginia 13 51.97% 50.00% 57.69% 2.49% Oklahoma 7 33.23% 21.43% 35.71% 2.50% Louisiana 8 41.25% 31.25% 43.75% 2.53% Mississippi 6 44.20% 41.67% 58.33% 2.69% Massachusetts 11 61.79% 59.09% 68.18% 2.75% Colorado 9 52.75% 50.00% 61.11% 2.78% Kansas 6 38.89% 25.00% 41.67% See the full proportional 2012…

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“ProPublica and Coalition of News Organizations Launch “Electionland” to Cover Election Problems and Help America Vote”

…d verification specialists, will coordinate and train a selected network of journalism school newsrooms – at University of Alabama, Arizona State University, Columbia University, University of Florida, University of Georgia, Louisiana State University, University of Memphis, University of Missouri, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ohio University, University of Oregon and Texas State University – to monitor and flag reports that…

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Trump’s Lawyer Don McGahn, Republican Lawyers’ Group, Plotting “Election Observer” Strategy

…hundreds of observers to states where tensions over elections seemed high. Now, observers may be sent only to five states where court rulings will allow election monitors. None of those states — Alabama, Alaska, California, Louisiana and New York — is seen as competitive in November. “That helps a lot,” Evans said of the reduced Justice Department role. “It takes away the suggestion that the Democrat machine is being supplemented by government…

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More Trump on Vote “Rigging”

…ow about like 10 times. Why not? If you don’t have voter ID, you can just keep voting and voting and voting. RUCKER: Is there anything else that you think could be going on? TRUMP: Look, you never know. It started with me in Louisiana when I won Louisiana and I got fewer delegates than Ted Cruz. RUCKER: I remember that. TRUMP: I said, “Whoa! Whoa! What happens here?” And then I polled well in Colorado. and instead of voting, the bosses picked…

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Hearing in Louisiana Republican Party’s Challenge to Soft Money Ban

Bloomberg BNA ($) has this story on yesterday’s hearing before a three-judge district court, including U.S. Circuit Judge Sri Srinivasan who was reportedly skeptical of the argument pressed by plaintiffs’ attorney Jim Bopp: While the logic of the high court’s recent majority opinions [like Citizens United and McCutcheon] might indicate soft-money ban is on shaky ground, Srinivasan said, a lower court must be reluctant to…

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“Louisiana Repeals 142-year-old Election Law”

…VOA: Two U.S. civil rights groups have dropped their lawsuit against the state of Louisiana after it repealed a law requiring naturalized citizens to show proof of citizenship when they registered to vote. The law had been on the books since 1874. The Southern Poverty Law Center and Fair Elections Legal Network were suing the state to block its continued enforcement….

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Judge Sri Srinivasan on 3-Judge Court Considering Major Soft Money Challenge

…track to the U.S. Supreme Court (4255 Money & Politics Report, 5/10/16). The soft-money challenge was brought by Bopp, a prominent Republican election lawyer with the Bopp Law Firm in Terre Haute, Ind., on behalf of the Louisiana Republican Party and two local Republican committees. If I am seeing this right, this is three Obama appointees for this panel, which has got to be a pretty good draw. But the real action in this case, assuming it…

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Bauer on Bopp’s Soft Money Challenge

Bauer: The Louisiana Republican Party has enlisted Jim Bopp to mount a challenge to campaign finance restrictions on state political parties and so it is widely assumed that this is a Trojan Horse lawsuit with much wider significance for the survival of McCain-Feingold.  And of course if the three-judge court, then eventually the Supreme Court, decide the case a certain way, it could well help doom the 1970’s reforms–if not immediately, then…

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“FEC Seeks to Derail Soft-Money Challenge”

…y of La. v. Federal Election Commission, D.D.C., No. 15-cv-1241, motion4/29/16). FEC lawyers filed a motion to dissolve a three-judge court appointed late last year to decide the soft-money challenge brought on behalf of the Louisiana Republican Party and two local Republican committees. The case was filed by James Bopp, a prominent Republican election lawyer with the Bopp Law Firm in Terre Haute, Ind. The latest FEC motion cited depositions of…

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“Federal lawsuit: Louisiana voter registration requirement discriminates against naturalized citizens”

Release: Louisiana is discriminating against naturalized citizens by requiring them to provide citizenship documents when registering to vote – a requirement that is not asked of other potential voters who must simply swear they are U.S. citizens, according to a federal lawsuit filed today by two civil rights groups. The lawsuit by the Fair Elections Legal Network and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) was filed on behalf of three…

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“Former Alabama governor Don Siegelman sent to solitary confinement”

WaPo: Former Alabama governor Don E. Siegelman was sent to solitary confinement this week at the Louisiana facility in which he is imprisoned on political corruption charges, according to his son Joseph Siegelman. Siegelman, 70, was quoted extensively in a Washington Post article this week on former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell, whose 2014 conviction on public corruption charges was reviewed by the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Siegelman…

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“The Trump-Cruz Louisiana Delegate Fight Could Be First Sign Of Turmoil To Come”

…n presidential race were to come down to the wire. Now, a fight stemming from the complicated process of selecting convention delegates suggests it has. The Trump campaign is currently in a tizzy over a development regarding Louisiana’s delegation to the Republican National Convention. While Trump narrowly defeated Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in the state’s primary earlier this month, a recent Wall Street Journal report suggested that Cruz will…

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“Trump Camp Will File RNC Complaint Over Delegates, Not A Lawsuit”

…he selection of delegates in the Louisiana primary, not a lawsuit, as Trump suggested in a Sunday tweet. Trump’s lawsuit threat followed a report that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) could gain up to 10 unbound delegates from the Louisiana primary, five of which were previously committed to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) before he dropped out of the presidential race. Trump won the primary, but could end up with fewer delegates than Cruz. Delegates…

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“Parties, Independence and the State of Anti-Corruption Jurisprudence”

Bauer: Louisiana is arguing with the help of the indefatigable Jim Bopp that McCain-Feingold cannot limit “federal election activities”, such as GOTV and voter registration, that state and local parties conduct independently, without coordinating with their candidates. Democracy 21, the Campaign Legal Center and Public Citizen reply in a brief filed as amici that this claim is clearly foreclosed by existing precedent: the soft money limits on…

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“Trump threatens lawsuit over delegate allocation”

…er the weekend by tweeting the threat of a lawsuit over last week’s maneuvering in Louisiana’s GOP delegate selection. “Just to show you how unfair the Republican primary politics can be, I won the State of Louisiana and get less delegates than Cruz – Lawsuit coming,” he wrote. Now, Louisiana is simply an example of Trump being outgunned when it comes to the nitty-gritty of delegate selection at the local level, and…

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Reformers File to Save McCain-Feingold Soft Money Ban

Release: Thee Campaign Legal Center, Democracy 21 and Public Citizen today filed a friend-of-the-court brief in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in Republican Party of Louisiana v. FEC, a case attempting to further undermine campaign contribution limits. Under one of the key provisions enacted as part of the 2002 McCain-Feingold law and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003, state and local parties have limits on how much…

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Richard Winger: Not Too Late for Third Party Bid to Challenge Trump

…titioning as an independent until April 24, 1980, and he got on in all states.  And the laws are better now than they were in 1980. Robert La Follette didn’t start until July 4, 1924, and he got on in all states except Louisiana.  And the Louisiana problem was not related to the deadline. Strom Thurmond didn’t decide to run as the Dixiecrat presidential candidate until mid-July 1948, after the Dem national convention put a civil…

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“The Voting Rights Act at 50: The Past, Present, and Future of the Right to Vote”

Symposium in the Louisiana Law Review: Tempering Society’s Looking Glass: Correcting Misconceptions About the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Securing American Democracy Orville Vernon Burton PDF The Irony of Intent: Statutory Interpretation and the Constitutionality of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act Joshua S. Sellers PDF Equal Sovereignty as a Right Against a Remedy Seth Davis PDF Reflections on Justice Thurgood Marshall and Shelby…

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“In battle over ‘forced recusals,’ Louisiana Supreme Court justice takes his case to federal court”

Fascinating: In an unusual legal skirmish, Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Jeff Hughes filed a federal lawsuit over the holidays against four of his fellow justices, challenging their decision to exclude Hughes from participating in consideration of two so-called legacy lawsuits before the high court because the plaintiffs’ attorneys contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to his 2012 election. Hughes, a Republican from Livingston Parish…

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Key Election Law/Voting Rights/Campaign Finance Litigation to Watch in 2016

…e to the Supreme Court, which could well take the case, setting up a major test of the meaning of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act in what Dan Tokaji has called the new vote denial cases. (Moritz page.) Republican Party of Louisiana challenge to federal soft money ban. In Citizens United, the Supreme Court struck one of the McCain-Feingold law’s two pillars: the ban on corporate and labor union general treasury funding of sham issue…

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Breaking: Supreme Court Unanimously Decides 3-Judge Redistricting Case, Helping Those Seeking #SCOTUS Fast Track

…217;s what I wrote recently about a decision by a district court to give a three-judge court in a case challenging the McCain-Feingold’s ban on party “soft money:” A federal district court has held that the Louisiana GOP, under the guidance of tenacious campaign finance lawyer Jim Bopp, has the right to have a challenge to McCain-Feingold’s soft money ban applied to state parties through a three-judge court. Getting there took…

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BIG Campaign Finance News: La. GOP Soft Money Lawsuit Gets 3-Judge Court, Likely Ticket to SCOTUS

I know it is late on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, but here’s some very big news. It sounds technical, but it really, really matters. A federal district court has held that the Louisiana GOP, under the guidance of tenacious campaign finance lawyer Jim Bopp, has the right to have a challenge to McCain-Feingold’s soft money ban applied to state parties through a three-judge court. Getting there took some very clever drafting, as…

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“Did Louisiana just elect ‘wrong’ governor due to flaw in Top 2 runoff method?”

…f the other statewide contests, including a runoff for lieutenant governor yesterday by more than 10%. It’s also quite likely that Edward would have lost if there had been an earlier runoff only among Republicans or if Louisiana has extended its use of ranked choice voting ballots from use by overseas and out-of-state military voters to all voters. But the state’s so-called “majority system” in fact did not provide a…

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“Your State And Local Elections Are Now A Super PAC Playground”

…unicipalities hold elections on even-numbered years. On Nov. 3, voters in Kentucky and Mississippi will hold gubernatorial and legislative elections, and voters in New Jersey and Virginia will vote on legislative candidates. Louisiana held its pre-runoff election for governor and many other down-ballot races on Oct. 24, and will hold a runoff on Nov. 21. Many other cities and municipalities have held or will hold elections this year, including…

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“New Challenge to ‘Soft Money’ Limits Faces Hurdles”

…R. Cooper of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Oct. 27 quoted Yogi Berra’s quip about “deja vu all over again,” as Bopp made his way to the microphone to argue on behalf of the Republican Party of Louisiana and two local party committees in that state. Cooper suggested Bopp’s latest case was similar to two earlier cases challenging party contribution limits established under the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform…

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“DC Circuit Spurns GOP Challenge to SEC Pay-to-Play Rule”

…strict procedures to comply with the SEC rule, which affects some federal elections as well as many non-federal elections. Four incumbent governors currently seek the presidency: Chris Christie of New Jersey, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, John Kasich of Ohio, and Scott Walker of Wisconsin. The court’s ruling leaves in place a barrier to fundraising in direct support of their campaigns. The opinion in New York Republican State Committee v. SEC is…

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