The Seventh Circuit on Monday rejected a conservative PAC’s challenge to an Illinois law banning direct campaign contributions by independent expenditure committees, citing the need to curb corruption.
The Illinois Liberty PAC is an independent expenditure committee founded by Dan Proft, a conservative radio talk-show host and former Republican candidate for governor.
Under state law, an independent expenditure committee is a type of political action committee that may raise unlimited funds but it is prohibited from contributing any of that money directly to a candidate, party or another PAC.
Taking its fight to court, Illinois Liberty claimed this blanket prohibition violates the First Amendment because there are instances where the Illinois code lifts contribution caps for other entities and individuals. For example, if a candidate self-funds their campaign to the tune of $250,000 or more, the state election code waives contribution limits for all candidates in that race.
In these circumstances, Illinois Liberty PAC claims it should also be allowed to contribute unlimited money directly to candidates.
But a federal judge rejected this line of reasoning, and a panel of Republican-appointed Seventh Circuit judges affirmed Monday.