The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued an order yesterday consolidating a preliminary injunction appeal with an en banc review of the merits of SpeechNow.org v. FEC.
The Center for Competitive Politics and the Institute for Justice are representing SpeechNow.org in its challenge of the constitutionality of FEC regulations of independent groups.
Last year, a federal judge denied a preliminary injunction request by SpeechNow.org that would have allowed it to avoid burdensome FEC regulations, including contribution limits. Last month, a federal appeals court ruled certain FEC regulations, including contribution limits, cannot apply to independent political groups in EMILY’s List v. FEC. EMILY’s List, however, already had a PAC; a favorable ruling in SpeechNow.org would broaden political free speech rights for groups across the spectrum, especially independent citizen activist organizations.
SpeechNow.org’s brief is due Nov. 16, while the FEC’s brief is due Dec. 15. SpeechNow.org’s reply brief is due Dec. 29, and the case is set for argument Jan. 27, 2010.
SpeechNow.org, an independent group of citizens, was formed to protect First Amendment rights by advocating candidates who favor free speech rights and opposing those who favor campaign finance regulation. SpeechNow.org will report its independent expenditures, but it is not a PAC or political party, does not accept corporate or union donations and does not contribute to candidates. The FEC’s attempts to regulate independent groups like SpeechNow.org are unconstitutional because such groups pose no quid pro quo corruption threat (the only rationale for campaign finance regulation under Buckley v. Valeo).