New Report: 13 States Raise Contribution Limits Since Citizens United Ruling

For Release: May 12, 2014    Contact: Joe Trotter    Phone: 210-352-0055 (Cell)

Alexandria, Va. — Thirteen states have raised contribution limits since the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 2010 Citizens United campaign finance ruling and the subsequent D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in SpeechNow.org v FEC that created Super PACs, according to a new report from the Center for Competitive Politics (CCP).

According to the report, “While there are many strong First Amendment and pro-competitiveness reasons for increasing or eliminating contribution limits, lawmakers appear to be most concerned with giving candidates and political parties a stronger voice in election campaigns by allowing candidates and parties to raise more funds.”

“A key goal of our litigation strategy is to leverage more First Amendment freedoms through legislative action,” said CCP President David Keating. “That’s exactly what happened here. Litigation triggered a legislative response that gave more freedoms to candidates and parties.

“Of the nine states that acted last year, over half doubled contribution limits,” Keating noted.

The report surveyed the activity of state legislatures since 2010 — and found that over one-third of the 38 states that impose contribution limits on individuals have increased or repealed them in some manner. The report notes that “Five states increased their limits by 100% or more, two more increased their limits by 50%, and one repealed its limit on direct corporate contributions to candidates.”

In the last year, nine states — Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Wyoming — have either raised or eliminated various campaign contribution limits. Vermont increased its contribution limits in January, and Oklahoma is considering action this year as well.

The Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling allowed trade associations, corporations, nonprofit groups, and labor unions to spend independently on candidates without limit.

“These 13 states are at the vanguard of a new movement to permit more political speech,” said Keating. “By easing limits on campaign contributions, lawmakers in these states are advancing the First Amendment rights of their constituents — and making elections more competitive.”

CCP was co-counsel in the SpeechNow.org case, filed an amicus brief in the Citizens United case, and coordinated amicus efforts in the Citizens United case.

About the Center for Competitive Politics

The Center for Competitive Politics is one of the nation’s premier centers of public interest litigation. It is the only public interest law firm with in-house litigation staff solely focused on the defense of First Amendment rights to free political speech, assembly and petition. CCP was co-counsel in SpeechNow.org v. Federal Election Commission, which held that there can be no limits on contributions to independent expenditure committees. This case created what is now known as Super PACs. CCP’s amicus brief was cited in the majority opinion in the Citizens United case.