Court Rescinds Cap on Political Spending by Nonprofits

Emily's List wins ruling on 'soft money'
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2009 4:15 PM CDT
Secretary of State-designate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at a luncheon for the political action committee Emily's List Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009 in Washington.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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(Newser) – A federal appeals court today rescinded FEC limits on “soft money,” the Washington Post reports. The federal regulations had required that funds used by a nonprofit to influence a federal election be drawn from “hard money” accounts—individual contributions of “hard money” are capped at $5,000. The court agreed with the advocacy group Emily’s List that such restrictions violated nonprofit groups’ right to free speech.

"The First Amendment, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, protects the right of individual citizens to spend unlimited amounts to express their views about candidates for office,” Brett Kavanaugh wrote for the three-judge panel that issued the ruling. "Similarly, the First Amendment, as the Court has construed it, safeguards the right of citizens to pool their resources as a non-profit organization in order to express their views."