On December 29, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit declared unconstitutional a Washington State statute regulating the donation of money to political action committees (PACs). Specifically, the law in question prohibited PACs from accepting contributions in excess of $5,000 within 21 days of an election.
The case challenging the measure was filed by Family PAC, a conservative political committee formed to oppose Washington's domestic partnership law through a voter referendum. In the suit, plaintiffs objected to three separate provisions of the new election law, only the third of which was held unconstitutional by the Ninth Circuit.
The first section objected to by Family PAC required a political committee to report the name and address of each person contributing more than $25 to the committee. The second provision that was challenged imposed a requirement on PACs that they report the occupation and employer of each person contributing more than $100 to the committee.
Family PAC’s third averment specifically challenged the three-week moratorium on PAC donations. The Ninth Circuit declared that the rule violated the First Amendment’s guarantee of unabridged free speech.
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