New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s chances to be the 2012 Republican vice-presidential nominee were hampered by a U.S. regulation that could have an even bigger impact on the next race for the White House. The three-year-old rule from the Securities and Exchange Commission effectively bars governors and other state officials from raising money from Wall Street for state or federal elections. Having Christie on the ticket would have complicated Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, which took in more money from securities and investment firms than any other industry. Now, with governors including Christie, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana contemplating a White House run in 2016, two state Republican committees have filed a lawsuit to overturn the regulation.
“We see this as something that has been a great detriment to our ability to help out candidates,” said Jason Weingartner, executive director of the New York Republican State Committee, which brought the case along with the Tennessee Republican Party. “This is something that needs to change.”
The legal challenge comes amid a general loosening of U.S. campaign finance rules. Over the past seven years, U.S. Supreme Court decisions have steadily eroded limits on contributions. Meanwhile the Federal Election Commission hasn’t updated its regulations. Together, those developments have opened new avenues for corporations to support candidates.
If the SEC ban were eliminated, Wall Street firms and their employees would be an even larger potential source of campaign cash. John Nester, an SEC spokesman, declined to comment.