Political action committees that act independently of a candidate are not bound by Illinois’ limits on campaign contributions aimed at curbing corruption, a federal judge ruled Tuesday. In a case brought by the abortion rights group Personal PAC, U.S. District Judge Marvin Aspen ruled the organization could create its own independent-expenditure PAC and take unlimited contributions. Aspen found that previous rulings by the U.S. Supreme Courtand the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago “prohibit governments from enforcing limiting contributions to independent-expenditure-only PACs.”
Illinois’ first-ever campaign donation limitation law placed a cap of $10,000 on individual donations; $20,000 on corporate, labor or political party donations; and $50,000 from a PAC or a candidate’s campaign bankroll. The law also prohibited groups from having more than one political action committee.
Personal PAC successfully argued that the law prevented it from forming an independent-expenditure PAC, which cannot consult or work with a political candidate. Such PACs also are allowed to accept unlimited donations.