* What Proft is seeking to do here is allow his independent expenditure PAC to operate like a regular political action committee after the contribution caps are lifted. Press release…
Today Liberty Principles PAC filed a lawsuit asking a federal district court to immediately suspend Illinois’ campaign contribution limits for ”independent expenditure” groups in state races in which contribution limits have been eliminated for individuals and other groups.
Liberty Principles PAC is an independent expenditure committee run by radio host, political consultant and political activist Dan Proft. Liberty Principles PAC promotes free-market principles and supports candidates for office who share those principles. It works to oppose candidates who do not share free-market principles.
Illinois campaign finance laws limit how much money individuals and organizations may contribute to political candidates. But once certain fundraising thresholds are met in a given race, the campaign contribution limits are eliminated for all types of donors in that race – except “independent expenditure committees,” such as Liberty Principles PAC. Groups such as Liberty Principles PAC remain forbidden from giving to candidates or even talking with candidates about their plans. This means that individuals, corporations, unions and political parties can give unlimited amounts of money to candidates and coordinate with those candidates’ campaigns, but groups such as Liberty Principles PAC cannot.
The lawsuit filed today, Dan Proft, et al. v. Lisa Madigan, et al., asks the court to suspend the campaign contribution limits that restrict independent expenditure committees in races where limits have been eliminated for individuals and all other groups.
“This lawsuit seeks to level the playing field in Illinois elections,” said Patrick Hughes, president of the Liberty Justice Center, which is representing Liberty Principles PAC. “If individuals and every other kind of group are allowed to make unlimited contributions and speak freely with the candidates they support, then independent groups like Liberty Principles PAC should be allowed to do so as well.”
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
* From the lawsuit…
Injury to Plaintiffs
Plaintiff Dan Proft is a political activist who associates with others for the purpose of communicating with the public about political ideas and candidates for state elective office in Illinois.
Mr. Proft would like to raise unlimited funds from like-minded individuals and organizations and, in turn, spend unlimited amounts on communications (such as television and radio advertisements and literature) supporting and opposing candidates for state elective offices.
Mr. Proft also would like to be able to communicate and coordinate freely with the candidates he supports because he believes that doing so would make his communications (and the candidates’ communications) to the public more effective.
The Code, however, does not allow Mr. Proft to do all these things he wishes to do.
* First Amendment claim…
The United States Supreme Court has recognized only one government interest that can justify campaign-finance restrictions: the prevention of actual or apparent quid pro quo corruption. See Wis. Right to Life State PAC v. Barland, 664 F.3d 139, 155 (7th Cir. 2011).
Therefore, in any challenge to campaign-finance restrictions, the government must show, at a minimum, that its restrictions are narrowly tailored to prevent actual or apparent quid pro quo corruption. See McCutcheon v. FEC, 134 S.Ct. 1434, 1441, 1456-57 (2014).
* Equal Protection claim…
No corruption-related difference between independent expenditure committees and other donors justifies banning coordinated expenditures by independent expenditure committees while allowing unlimited coordinated expenditures (and contributions) by the others.
…Adding… From a close pal…
So he wants the right to break caps through independent expenditures, and then say “oh, someone broke the caps so now I can coordinate”
He makes a good point.