The constitutionality of limits on Alaska campaign contributions is challenged in a new federal lawsuit filed on Wednesday. Three individuals and the local chapter of the Alaska Republican Party filed the lawsuit against the executive director and board of the Alaska Public Offices Commission, which enforces state political financing laws. The suit alleges that four aspects of campaign laws violate the U.S Constitution: a $500 limit on individual contributions to a candidate, a $500 limit on individual contributions to a group, the $3,000 limit on out-of-state contributions, and limits on political party contributions.Kevin Clarkson, an attorney representing the group, said he plans to file an injunction that would halt some contribution limits until the issue is settled.
Clarkson told KTUU that federal rulings like Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in 2010 and McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission in 2014 make Alaska overdue for changes. “If the contribution limit is set up to benefit the incumbent rather than the challenger, that’s a problem,” Clarkson said, adding that there has been no challenge here for nine years, long before those rulings dramatically altered how money flows through campaigns.
The attorney described the group behind the suit as a “group of individuals with collective interests.”