First Amendment Wins in Carey v FEC

ALEXANDRIA, VA – First Amendment rights received a significant boost yesterday when a judge issued a preliminary injunction in Carey v FEC freeing up Political Action Committees (PACs) that make contributions to candidates to also accept unlimited contributions to make independent expenditures and pay for operating costs.

“I applaud this Court’s strong rebuke of the FEC’s rough-shod suppression of the free speech rights of grassroots activists, organizers, and everyday Americans,” said Dan Backer of DB Capitol Strategies following the ruling. “Political speech is a fundamental right, not some privilege accorded at the whim & mercy of the FEC, and this ruling ensures that citizens enjoy the same political speech capabilities as well-funded corporate & union interests.”

Attorneys Stephen M. Hoersting, Benjamin T. Barr and Dan Backer, working with the Center for Competitive Politics, represented Rear Admiral (Ret.) James J. Carey and the National Defense PAC in the case.  The ruling means that PACs without the deep pockets of many unions and corporations can raise funds for independent expenditures without limits and without having to create a second, separate organization.

“This is a big win for the First Amendment, and a blow to the FEC’s apparent intent to ignore precedents like Citizens United, SpeechNow.org, and Emily’s List in an effort to stifle as much political speech as possible,” said Sean Parnell, President of the Center for Competitive Politics. “It’s time for our current campaign finance regulatory structure to be largely undone as it is overly complex, stifles too much political speech, and leaves too many Americans unsure of whether they can legally speak or not.”

A motion for summary judgment is in the process of being filed.