Alabama Appealing PAC-to-PAC Transfer Ruling to Eleventh Circuit

By Robyn Hagan Cain on January 06, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Campaign finance law is all the rage these days.

Last month the Seventh Circuit enjoined a Wisconsin campaign finance law and the Ninth Circuit struck a Washington contribution cap, while the Montana Supreme Court potentially defied the U.S. Supreme Court decision last week by upholding state limits on corporate spending in political campaigns. (The challenged law in the Montana case, Western Tradition Partnership v. Attorney General, is strikingly similar the law SCOTUS struck in Citizens United.)

Now, it's the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals' turn to weigh in on campaign finance law.

This week, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange announced that Alabama is appealing U.S. Magistrate Judge John Ott's December ruling that overturns a portion of a state ban on transfers between political action committees, better known as PAC-to-PAC transfers, to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ott found that the PAC-to-PAC ban, as applied to the Alabama Democratic Conference (ADC), is unconstitutional under the First Amendment. Strange notes, however, that Judge Ott's opinion did not completely overturn the PAC-to-PAC transfers ban. "The Court specifically upheld the PAC transfer ban as applied to any money destined to candidates for public office," reports The Birmingham News.

The ADC argued that the PAC-to-PAC transfer ban was a violation of First Amendment rights, and of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, that would interfere with funding for the ADC get-out-the-vote efforts, and ultimately disenfranchise black voters. Judge Ott dismissed the ADC's Voting Rights Act claims, reports The Birmingham News.

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has not announced a hearing date for the PAC-to-PAC transfer appeal.

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