WASHINGTON (CN) - Tea Partiers must consolidate their demands for an injunction with their arguments against campaign-contribution limits on the merits, a federal judge ruled.
The Tea Party Leadership Fund filed suit against the Federal Election Commission last month, taking aim at a requirement that a newly registered political committee must wait six months before it can contribute $5,000 per candidate instead of only $2,500 per candidate.
Sean Bielat, a Massachusetts-based candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, is also a plaintiff, as is U.S. Senate candidate John Raese of West Virginia.
The plaintiffs did not want the court to consolidate the merits of its case with a hearing for an injunction since the Nov. 6 election was looming, but the FEC said consolidation would promote judicial efficiency.
"The FEC also notes that the plaintiffs 'waited more than five months to seek judicial relief, which they could have sought as early as May 2012' - when the Tea Party Leadership Fund registered with the FEC as a political committee - and filed the instant action just nineteen days before the general election," according to the court.
U.S. District Judge Richard Roberts credited this argument on Friday in consolidating the matters.
"The plaintiffs' delay in filing their motion suggests that they could not realistically have expected relief during this election cycle," he wrote.
The Tea Partiers must submit their summary judgment motion by Jan. 11, 2013.
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