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Federal Judge Rejects New York Limit on Donations to Super PAC

On April 24, 2014, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of a challenge by Arent Fox client New York Prosperity and Protection PAC (NYPPP) to the constitutionality of New York’s anti-independent expenditure law. Partner Craig Engle represent NYPPP.

New York currently imposes a $150,000 limit on an individual’s annual political contributions. But Judge Paul A. Crotty ruled that such a limit was a violation of the First Amendment when it was applied to independent groups. Last October, in New York Progress and Protection PAC v. Walsh, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit also ruled in favor of NYPPP and granted an injunction that allowed it to accept donations in accordance with the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United.

In an interview with The New York Times, Mr. Engle said the end of the contribution limit would make it easier for independent groups to get their message out in New York, given its expensive media market. “What this does,” Mr. Engle said, “is put governor candidates in New York on an equal footing with governor candidates across the United States — that the money that needs to be raised can be raised to support or defend their opinions or positions.” To read the Times article, click here.

Mr. Engle told Bloomberg BNA that the judge “wrote a good speech and reached the right legal result,” while adding that, “it’s clear that limits on contributions to these committees are unconstitutional.” To read the BNA article, click here.

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