U.S. District Court Enjoins Maine’s Discriminatory Campaign Contribution Limits

On August 22, U.S. District Court Judge D. Brock Hornby enjoined a Maine campaign finance law that lets individuals contribute twice as much money to a candidate for state office who is nominated by primary, relative to a candidate who qualifies for the November ballot by petition. The case is Woodhouse v Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices, 1:14cv-266.

The case had been filed by individuals who wanted to donate to an independent candidate for Governor, Eliot Cutler. The law says they can only donate $1,500. But the law lets individuals contribute $3,000 to candidates who run first in a primary, and then, if they win the primary, in the general election. The decision says, “I do not lightly find a state statute unconstitutional. But these four Maine residents have shown a strong likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that in this election they have suffered unconstitutional discrimination as compared to contributors to party candidates.” Thanks to Thomas MacMillan for the news.

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