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Ending the Speech Straightjacket

Libertarian National Committee, Inc. v. Federal Election Commission

Case Status

Date Filed

September 12, 2018

Last Step

Filed U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief supporting petition for certiorari.

Next Step

Await Supreme Court decision on whether to hear the case.

Case Overview

Federal campaign finance law allows political parties to use only 10 percent of contributions they receive to speak about things that they think will be most impactful. The remaining 90 percent can only be used specifically for presidential nominating conventions, party headquarters buildings, and vote recounts. This law makes it extremely difficult for small parties, who don’t hold conventions, don’t need headquarters buildings, and almost never seek recounts, to spend money on grassroots outreach, which is crucial to them. This law is a content-based restriction on speech because it stifles or endorses speech based on its content. The Goldwater Institute filed an amicus brief urging the court to strike down this law.

Case Logistics

Plaintiff-Appellant: Libertarian National Committee, Inc.

Defendant-Appellee: Federal Election Commission

Court: U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

Relief sought: The court should strike down the specific-purpose component of the challenged campaign finance law.

Date amicus brief filed: September 12, 2018

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