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California GOP joins national campaign finance lawsuit

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Monday, August 24th, 2009 at 3:32 pm in campaign finance, Republican Party.

California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring is headed to Washington, D.C., where he will join colleagues from the Republican National Committee at a U.S. District Court Thursday hearing on a lawsuit challenging the legality of federal limits on corporate contributions to political parties and campaigns. (I blogged about this lawsuit a few days ago.)

The RNC, California GOP and the San Diego Republican Party are the plaintiffs in the case.

If the Republicans are ultimately successful, it could allow corporate dollars to again flow directly into political parties rather than through political action committees or 527s.

I am also curious to know if a ruling in the GOP’s favor would impact labor unions’ status with respect to federal campaigns. They are treated much like businesses and can contribute only to PACs, which are subject to limits of $5,000 per campaign.

Read on for the California GOP’s press release:

California Republican Leaders Head To DC

For Court Challenge To McCain-Feingold Law

California Republican Party and Republican Party of San Diego County are plaintiffs together with Republican National Committee in Major Challenge to McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Law

Case to be heard Thursday in federal district court, appeal to go to
U.S. Supreme Court next term, experts say

SAN DIEGO – California Republican Party leaders are heading to Washington, D.C. Tuesday to personally attend Thursday’s key hearing in the legal challenge to the McCain-Feingold federal campaign finance law.  The California Republican Party and Republican Party of San Diego County are plaintiffs in the case together with the Republican National Committee.

The case will be heard on Thursday, August 27 before a special three judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and the ruling will be appealed directly to the United States Supreme Court, which will ultimately decide the case, experts say.

California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring will be in court for the state Republican Party, and will be joined by Tony Krvaric, Chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County, also a plaintiff in the case.

“The California Republican Party is pleased to be one of the three plaintiffs in this case challenging the unconstitutional, anti-free speech provisions of federal campaign law that unfairly restrict campaign activity entirely unrelated to federal campaigns,” said state Republican chairman Ron Nehring.  “Federal micromanagement of state and local campaign activity, like voter registration and advocacy for state and local candidates, is distorting today’s campaigns and interfering with our party’s ability to communicate with our own members and on behalf of non-federal candidates.”

Among the areas of the law subject to the California Republican Party’s challenge are restrictions on how state and local political parties must pay for activities which are either entirely unrelated or only marginally related to candidates for federal office.  For instance, voter registration activities conducted anywhere in the state within a certain time period must be entirely funded with federally regulated contributions, even if the registration efforts are driven by interest in a local or state candidate.

The Republican Party of San Diego County is the third plaintiff in the case, challenging specifically the provisions of federal law interfering with local party organizations’ ability to support non-federal candidates for office.  The Republican Party of San Diego County is one of the largest local Republican organizations in America with over 500,000 members and expenditures of over $2 million per election cycle.

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