A new lawsuit in federal court seeks to overturn Alaska’s strict limits on donations to political candidates and groups using a pair of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions as precedents. The suit, filed by an Anchorage Republican district and three supporters of Republican candidates, challenges the state’s $500 annual cap on individuals’ donations to candidates, as well as three other contribution limits. If the lawsuit prevails, it could reshape the political landscape for next year’s state legislative elections by allowing donors to spend more money on their favored candidates. A trial is tentatively scheduled for late April before U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess.
The suit, which was first reported by television station KTUU, was filed last week.
According to lead attorney Kevin Clarkson, the case started when David Thompson, a Wisconsin resident, “ran into a brick wall” when he tried to contribute to the campaign of his brother-in-law, Rep. Wes Keller, R-Wasilla.
Thompson said he couldn’t donate to Keller because of a law that bars candidates from collecting more than $3,000 annually from Outsiders.