A Tale of Two Campaign Finance Appeals at SCOTUS: Why No Push to Allow Corporate Contributions to Candidates?

…the issue (including the 4th Circuit, reversing a contrary decision in the Danielczyk case) have rejected challenges to the corporate ban under the authority of an earlier Supreme Court case, FEC v. Beaumont. Beaumont was on somewhat shaky ground after C itizens United, and on very shaky ground now (for reasons I explained at Slate) under McCutcheon. I still think lower courts are bound to follow Beaumon t. But one can easily imagine a lower court…

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Republican FEC Nominee Argued for Overturning of Ban on Corporate Contributions to Federal Candidates

…s. He argued — ultimately unsuccessfully — in United States v. Danielczyk to overturn the ban on direct corporate contributions to candidates. In that case, a judge ruled that the Citizens United decision invalidated the ban on direct corporate contributions to candidates. “Citizens United was a sea change in First Amendment jurisprudence and renders the absolute ban on limited corporate contributions unconstitutional,” Goo…

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“Va. Businessman Danielczyk Gets 2 Years For Funneling Money to Clinton Campaigns”

…ary Clinton (U.S. v. Danielczyk, E.D. Va., Criminal No. 11-85, sentencing 5/31/13). The sentence was among the toughest ever for campaign finance violations but was less than the five years in prison recommended by federal prosecutors (3522 Money & Politics Report, 5/30/13). Prosecutors cited Danielczyk’s efforts to cover up his crime in submissions to the Federal Election Commission and obstruction of an FBI investigation. Danielczyk&#8…

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“Virginia Businessmen Agree to Plead Guilty Following High Court Move on Campaign Law”

…Clinton, the former senator from New York and secretary of state (U.S. v. Danielczyk, E.D. Va., Criminal No. 11-85, pleas entered 2/26/13). Plea agreements signed in the case indicated that Danielczyk could face five years in prison as a result of the long-running criminal case, while Biagi faces probable probation and a fine. They are due to be sentenced May 17. Danielczyk and Biagi agreed to plead guilty in an unexpected move on the day a trial…

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In Significant Action, Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Case to Allow Corporate Contributions Directly to Candidates

…corporate contribution limit stands under earlier Supreme Court authority. Danielczyk case the only case to reach a contrary conclusion in the district court, but was reversed by the 4th Circuit to bring it in line with the other circuits. Although there was no circuit split on this question (a common reason for the Supreme Court to agree to hear the case), the lower courts clearly expressed the opinion that the issue was foreclosed by earlier Sup…

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Supreme Court Could Double Down, Take Second Campaign Finance Case; More on McCutcheon

It turns out that Danielczyk has been relisted for Friday’s conference. (Thanks to a reader for calling this to my attention.) The Court could still put the case on hold for McCutcheon, or grant and hear the case net term as well, or deny cert. My betting at this point would be on the first or second, but not the third, option. We’ll see. The McCutcheon grant of review got front page coverage in the New York Times, as well as this NYT…

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The Significance of the Supreme Court’s Decision to Hear the McCutcheon Campaign Finance Case

…y explain why the Court has not ruled on the pending cert. petition in the Danielczyk case, challenging the constitutionality of the ban on direct corporate contributions to candidates. It could well hold this case for the outcome of McCutheon.) More broadly, a decision to strike down aggregate contribution limits could lead the Court to overrule that portion of Buckley v. Valeo upholding aggregate contribution limits. This would be of enormous sy…

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If the Supreme Court Agrees to Hear the Two Pending Campaign Finance Cases…

…the McCutcheon case involving the aggregate contribution limit but not the Danielczyk case, about the constitutionality of the ban on direct corporate contributions to candidates. McCutcheon is coming up on appeal and not cert, and a decision to not hear the case counts as a ruling on the merits. Also, there’s no circuit split on the corporate contribution case, and there’s a strong anti-circumvention argument against allowing corporat…

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“Justices to Decide Whether to Review Restrictions on Campaign Contributions”

…onal challenge to the century-old ban on corporate campaign contributions (Danielczyk v. U.S., U.S., No. 12-579, cert. petition filed 11/8/12). The case challenging the corporate contribution ban was distributed Jan. 23 for consideration at the justices’ private conference on Feb. 15. The court also received Jan. 23 a reply brief from lawyers representing businessmen William Danielczyk and Eugene Biagi.” Also at the same conference: a…

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“Legal Standard for ‘Willful’ Violations Of Campaign Law Considered by Court”

…cused of backing away from a standard used previous cases and enshrined in DOJ guidelines. The legal battle was revealed in recent court filings in the long-running case, which involves Virginia businessmen William Danielczyk and Eugene Biagi. The two are charged with funneling illegal corporate contributions to the 2008 presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, now President Obama’s secretary of state.”…

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Cert Petition Filed in Danielczyk Case, Challenging Corporate Contribution Ban to Federal Candidates

…porate contributions to the 2008 presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton (Danielczyk v. U.S., U.S. 12-579, cert. petition filed 11/8/12). In a 35-page petition for certiorari, lawyers for Danielczyk and his business partner, Eugene Biagi, asked the court to re-examine the fundamental distinction between campaign contributions and independent campaign expenditures, which has been a hallmark of campaign finance law since the Supreme Court’s 1…

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8th Circuit Unanimously Rejects Challenge to MN Corporate Contribution Ban; Divides on Disclosure Requirements

…the Second, Fourth (after the rejection of the district court decision in Danielczyk) and Ninth Circuits (in the Thalheimer case in which I was involved) in holding that any challenge to corporate contribution bans in the lower courts is barred by the Supreme Court’s decision in FEC v. Beaumont. The 8th Circuit does drop a footnote however suggesting that if and when this issue reaches the Supreme Court again, the Court could well overrule…

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Fourth Circuit Upholds Ban on Corporate Contributions

…en an active day in the courts even beyond the health care rulings. In the Danielczyk case, the Fourth Circuit has reversed the Virginia district court opinion striking down the federal ban on corporate contributions to candidates in the wake of Citizens United. Rick had urged a prompt appeal of the district court’s outlier opinion, and the Fourth Circuit appears to have responded. The court not only found Danielczyk squarely governed by Bea…

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“Judges Voice Skepticism of Challenge To Law Banning Corporate Contribution”

…paigns faced skepticism from a federal appeals court panel May 18 (U.S. v. Danielczyk, 4th Cir., No. 11-4667, oral argument 5/18/12)….During the May 18 argument, questioning by Traxler and the two other judges on the appellate panel hinted that they were considering overturning the district court ruling because of concerns that the corporate contribution ban was upheld by the Supreme Court in a 2003 case, known as Beaumont v. Federal Electio…

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4th Circuit Will Hear Arguments Tomorrow in Challenge to Federal Corporate Contribution Ban

…onstitutional the federal ban on corporate campaign contributions (U.S. v. Danielczyk, 4th Cir., No. 11-4667, amicus filed 1/10/12).” Also: “The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit is considering a challenge to Minnesota’s campaign finance law regulating corporate money, which includes a corporate contribution ban in state campaigns (Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Inc. (MCFL) v. Swanson, 8th Cir., No. 10-3126, reh…

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Montana Supreme Court Campaign finance Decision Affront to the “Rule of Law”?

…6;s the 2d Circuit on that opinion: The Court is aware of United States v. Danielczyk, No. 1:11cr85 (JCC), 2011 WL 2161794 (E.D. Va. May 26, 2011), which struck down a ban on corporate contributions, based on what it called an ‘inescapable’ expansion of Citizen United’s logic. Id. at *18; Danielczyk, 2011 WL 2268063 (E.D. Va. June 7, 2011) (denying reconsideration). The role of an appellate court is to apply to law as it exists. Since the Supreme…

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Breaking News: Federal District Court in San Diego Upholds Corporate/Non-Individual Contribution Ban, Strikes Down $1,000 Political Party Contribution Limit

…(now up on en banc appeal) and disagreeing with the district court in the Danielczyk case (now on appeal to the 4th Circuit), a federal district court in San Diego today had upheld the City of San Diego’s laws banning corporations, labor unions, and other non-individual entities (aside from political parties) from contributing money directly to candidates for City office. The opinion in Thalheimer v. City of San Diego is here.[Disclosure: I…

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Expect Democrats to Make Political Hay of This

Republican National Committee files brief in 4th Circuit Danielczyk case today arguing that for-profit corporations have the constitutional right to make campaign contributions directly to candidates. (h/t Ken Vogel) (More from Ken here) Especially if Romney is the nominee, expect this to be rolled into Romney’s “corporations are people, my friend” line, the Bain Capital stuff, and the recent “I like to fire people gaffe,&…

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2d Circuit Issues Important Campaign Finance Decision Affirming Constitutionality of NY “Pay to Play” Rules, Ban on Entity Contributions

…. Beaumont remains good law (“The Court is aware of United States v. Danielczyk, No. 1:11cr85 (JCC), 2011 WL 2161794 (E.D. Va. May 26, 2011), which struck down a ban on corporate contributions, based on what it called an ‘inescapable’ expansion of Citizen United’s logic. Id. at *18; Danielczyk, 2011 WL 2268063 (E.D. Va. June 7, 2011) (denying reconsideration). The role of an appellate court is to apply to law as it exists. Since…

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Unanimous 4th Circuit Upholds Ban on Lobbyist Campaign Contributions; Big Implications for Pending Corporate Contributions Case

…g paper in the Stanford Law Review.) Assuming this decision stands (that is, is not taken en banc or heard by the Supreme Court now given the Circuit split), it would provide a strong basis for upholding the corporate contribution ban in the Danielczyk case. (Disclosure: I am one of the lawyers representing the City of San Diego in the Thalheimer case, cited in Preston, considering the constitutionality of the City’s ban on corporate and oth…

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Thalheimer Plaintiffs Will Not Petition for Cert. in San Diego Campaign Finance Case

…aw barring non-human contributions to candidates (the same issue as in the Danielczyk case in the 4th Circuit and the Swanson case in the 8th circuit). The court also denied a preliminary injunction as to time limitations for candidates raising campaign contributions. The Ninth Circuit also denied rehearing en banc. Today plaintiffs filed this letter with the district court, indicating that they will not be seeking Supreme Court review of the deni…

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“FEC Fines Former Rep. Grayson, Campaign Over Invitation Asking for Corporate Money”

…BNA (subscription required) has the details. Spoiler alert: Rep. Grayson’s name was on a fundraising invite for a state candidate, asking for contributions from an “individual, corporation, PAC, or trust.” Grayson contends that a staffer approved his participation without his consent. No sign of a Danielczyk defense….

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Breaking News: Rehearing En Banc Denied in Ninth Circuit San Diego Thalheimer Case

…s does not violate the First Amendment. The court also held that a temporal limitation on campaign contributions (no contributions more than a year before an election) is likely constitutional. [Disclosure: I am one of the attorneys for the City of San Diego.] The district court in the Danielczyk case held that the federal corporate contribution ban was unconstitutional, a case now on appeal to the Fourth Circuit. The Eighth Circuit in the Swanson…

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Danielczyk: Overreaching or Prophecy?

…tten this guest post for the ACS Blog. It concludes: “The opinion in Danielczyk throws the entire federal corporate contribution ban into question, just as we enter the 2012 campaign season. The government can and should appeal it, and have this outlier precedent overturned. Otherwise at next year’s state of the union address, Justice Alito won’t have the chance to say ‘not true.’ And our democracy will be threatened by the circu…

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