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Leveling the Campaign Finance Playing Field

1A Auto v. Sullivan

Case Status

Date Filed

February 24, 2015

Last Step

Goldwater Institute filed petition for certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Next Step

Awaiting response to petition for certiorari.

Case Overview

The laws of six states prohibit businesses—but not unions or other groups—from contributing to political parties, committees, or candidates. This uneven playing field violates state and federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection, free speech, and free association. The Goldwater Institute is challenging Massachusetts’ contribution ban, just as it successfully challenged a similar Kentucky contribution ban, in order to vindicate the constitutional rights of businesses to participate on equal footing with unions and other groups in the political process. Victory in this case will advance equal treatment on the political playing field and strengthen the rights of all Americans to participate fully in the political process.

Case Logistics


1A Auto, Inc., a family-owned auto parts retailer in Westford, Mass. It started selling auto parts in 1999 and employs 217 people.

126 Self Storage, Inc., a small self-storage facility in Ashland, Mass. In business since 1999, it employs four people.



Michael Sullivan, Director, Office of Campaign and Political Finance



U.S. Supreme Court



Not assigned.


Relief sought

The businesses are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to declare the uneven contribution ban unconstitutional and enjoin its enforcement.


Date filed

February 24, 2015

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