A divided federal appeals court panel ruled Tuesday that Alaska’s cap on total contributions that candidates can receive from nonresidents is unconstitutional. However, the three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld other campaign contribution limits that it said were tailored to prevent corruption or the appearance of corruption. The case brought by three individuals and an Alaska Republican Party district challenged elements of state campaign finance law. An attorney for the plaintiffs did not immediately return a message seeking comment. Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth, in a statement, expressed disappointment that the court struck down limits on nonresident contributions but said she was pleased with the rest of the ruling. Her agency said it was reviewing the decision and evaluating next steps.
The appeals court panel sided with a lower court in upholding limits on contributions made by individuals to candidates and to groups that are not political parties. They also upheld limits on the total amount a political party can give municipal candidates.
The judges split on nonresident contributions. The majority found the aggregate limit on what candidates can get from nonresidents violates the First Amendment. The panel reversed the lower court on that issue.
Full Article: Appeals court ruling mixed on Alaska campaign finance laws.