WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – The conservative majority of the Supreme Court sided with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas on Monday and struck down a provision of the federal campaign finance law, a decision that, a dissenting justice said, risks “further discrediting” American politics.
The court, by a 6-3 vote, said Cruz challenged a provision limiting the repayment of personal loans from candidates for his campaigns, which violates the Constitution. This decision has come just as the campaigning for the 2022 mid-term elections is intensifying.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority that the provision “burdens chief political speech without reasonable justification.”
The Biden administration defended it as an anti-corruption measure, but Roberts wrote that the government was not able to show that the provision “served a permissible anti-corruption goal rather than the permissible purpose of limiting the amount of money in politics”. carries forward.”
Justice Elena Kagan disagreed, writing that for two decades the provision checked “devious exchanges.” Kagan, in a disagreement for himself and for two other liberals on the court, said that the majority, in scrapping the provision, “flagged all the sordid bargaining that Congress thought was right to stop.” She said the decision could “further defame the political system of this country.”
In an emailed statement, Cruz’s attorney, Charles Cooper, said the ruling: “a victory for the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech in the political process.”
The case involved a section of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, commonly known as the McCain–Feingold campaign-finance law. The provision states that if a candidate lends his campaign money before an election, the campaign cannot pay more than $250,000 to the candidate using funds raised after election day. The provision states that the loan can be repaid from the money raised before the election.
Cruz, who has served in the Senate since 2013 and ran unsuccessfully for president in 2016, loaned his campaign $260,000 a day before the 2018 general election, with the aim of challenging the law.
Cruise’s spokesman, Steve Guest, said in an emailed statement that senators were “satisfied” with the decision, which Guest said “strengthened our democratic process by making it easier for challengers to defeat and defeat career politicians.” will help.”
The decision is the latest since Roberts became chief justice in 2005, in which conservatives have hit Congress-imposed limits on raising and spending money to influence elections. This includes the Citizens Joint Decision of 2010.Which opened the door to unlimited free spending in federal elections.
Kagan describes an outcome in his dissent now that the most recent provision has been abolished. He said a candidate could lend his campaign $500,000 and, after winning, use the donor’s money to pay it off in full. The grateful politician could then respond to donor money with “favourable legislation, perhaps prized appointments, perhaps lucrative contracts,” she wrote. “The politician is happy; The donors are happy. The only losers are the people. It inevitably suffers from government corruption.”
At another point she said: “It takes no political genius to see the rising risk of corruption – the threat of ‘I’ll make you richer and you’ll make me richer’ arranges between donors and office-holders.”
However, Roberts noted in his majority opinion that individual contributions to candidates for federal office, including contributions made after the candidate has won an election, are capped at $2,900 per election.
“The dire predictions of dissatisfaction about the impact of today’s decision take away the fact that contributions to the issue are subject to these requirements,” he wrote. He pointed out that most states “do not impose any limits on the use of post-election contributions to repay candidate loans.”
Cruz had argued that the provision made candidates think twice about lending money because it significantly increased the risk that any candidate loans would not be repaid in full. A lower court had held that the provision was unconstitutional.
The case may be most important for candidates for federal office who want to take out large loans for their campaigns. But the administration, which declined a request for comment after the verdict, has also said that the bulk of candidate loans in the past were for less than $250,000 and that the provision did not apply, as Cruz challenged.
The government has said that in the five election cycles before 2020, Senate candidates gave 588 loans to their campaigns, of which nearly 80% were under $250,000. House of Representatives candidates gave 3,444 loans, nearly 90 percent for under $250,000.
The case is Federal Election Commission v. Senate for Ted Cruz, 21-12,