“Supreme Court will hear Ted Cruz’s challenge of campaign contribution limit”

From Bob Barnes at the Washington Post:

The Supreme Court said Thursday it would consider Sen. Ted Cruz’s challenge to a law limiting post-election political contributions to repay a candidate’s loan to his campaign.

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) asked the court to take the case, after a three-judge panel in Washington sided with the Texas Republican and said the law unconstitutionally restricts a candidate’s political expression.

The case is among five the justices accepted as they began to fill out their docket for the term that begins Monday. The court will be meeting in person to hear arguments for the first time since March 2020. It will be the first time Justice Amy Coney Barrett takes the bench with her colleagues.

The provision Cruz challenged is part of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. It limits the amount of money that federal candidates can raise and use after an election to repay personal loans. The government defends the law as necessary to prevent the appearance of quid pro quo corruption.

The limit is $250,000. Cruz, as part of his 2018 Senate reelection campaign against Democrat Beto O’Rourke, lent his campaign $260,000 the day before the general election.

The point was to challenge the law, as only $250,000 of that could be repaid with money raised after the election.

The FEC failed to demonstrate “that quid pro quo corruption or its appearance arises from post-election contributions to retire a candidate’s personal debt.”

It added that the government has not identified “a single case of actual quid pro quo corruption in this context” and that “many states impose no restriction on using post-election contributions to repay candidate loans.”

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