Cruz Wins Campaign Finance Court Battle With FEC

The Hill reports:

A federal court on Thursday sided with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in his lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission (FEC), striking down rules limiting how much money candidates can raise after an election to pay off loans.

Cruz challenged a section of election law that says campaigns cannot pay back more than $250,000 in personal loans through post-election donations. Cruz put $260,000 of his own money into his 2018 reelection campaign and sued the FEC in April 2019 as he attempted to pay off his debt.

In a 31-page ruling, a three-judge panel ruled that the repayment cap, instituted in the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, violated Cruz’s free speech rights.

Roll Call reports:

Election and campaign lawyers said the decision could make it even easier for wealthy candidates to run for office.

“The constitutionality of this provision has long been in doubt, so this decision is not a surprise,” campaign finance lawyer Brett Kappel said. “It will make it marginally easier for both parties to recruit self-funding candidates.”

The FEC in the case pointed to comments from lawmakers at the time to demonstrate that the law intended to stop corruption. That included a statement from then-Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison on the Senate floor that candidates “have a constitutional right to try to buy the office, but they do not have a constitutional right to resell it.”