Republican-Backed Organization To Pursue Illinois Campaign Contribution Caps Lawsuit

Sep 14, 2016

A conservative-backed organization says it will continue efforts to topple the Illinois law limiting campaign contributions, after a judge ruled the law constitutional.

The law caps how much individuals, corporations, and political action committees can give.

Committees controlled by the legislative leaders are subject to caps too, but only in the primary. There's no limit on what they can give to candidates during the general election.

Liberty Justice Center attorney Jacob Huebert says the law is set up to help the leaders maintain power.

"When you have that power, you really can make or break a candidate. You can say: Well, I have can give unlimited money to you, or I can give unlimited money to your opponent," he said. "It's very easy for the leader to be in a position to effectively buy off people, or threaten people, who would challenge his leadership. And so this ability to give all this money helps them stay in that position. They can use it to maintain their own power."

In his ruling, District Court Judge Gary Feinerman calls that an overstated concern. He wrote that if leaders abused their positions for corrupt aims and personal agendas, voters or other legislators could unseat them.

Huebert says the Liberty Justice Center will appeal, to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

The center itself is an arm of the Illinois Policy Institute, which, as a tax exempt organization, doesn't have to disclose its funding; the institute has connections with a political action committee that has received millions from Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.