CHICAGO (CN) – Wisconsin cannot enforce a $10,000 donation limit on independent political action committees, the 7th Circuit ruled Monday.
In a 2010 lawsuit, Wisconsin Right to Life claimed that the state’s new campaign-financing regulations unconstitutionally restrict individuals’ First and 14th Amendment rights.
A federal judge declined to intervene until the Wisconsin Supreme Court had weighed in, but Right to Life sought an emergency federal injunction before the Aug. 9 and Aug. 16 state Senate recall elections.
The three-judge appellate panel obliged, finding that the claim will not be affected by the outcome of the Wisconsin Supreme Court case and that Right to Life has a strong chance of success on the merits.
“The D.C., Fourth, and Ninth Circuits have held that contribution limits are unconstitutional when applied to contributions applied only for independent spending for political speech,” the judges noted.
The ruling allows groups unlimited use of funds for advertising not made “in concert or cooperation” with political candidates or parties.
The panel ordered an expedited appeal. Oral arguments will take place in mid-September.