Wyoming Liberty Group challenges campaign contribution cap in federal court

2014-07-25T08:30:00Z Wyoming Liberty Group challenges campaign contribution cap in federal courtBy TREVOR GRAFF Casper Star-Tribune The Billings Gazette
July 25, 2014 8:30 am  • 

CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming Liberty Group is suing Secretary of State Max Maxfield in federal district court for the removal of two-year campaign contribution limits in the Cowboy State.

Current law limits political contributions to a total of $25,000 in two years. The libertarian group says that limit is unconstitutionally abridging free speech, citing the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission that struck down such limits at the federal level.

"I wish Wyoming would have been a bit more proactive in trying to comply with the Supreme Court ruling," said Benjamin Barr, an attorney representing Wyoming Liberty Group. "We've seen other states take action on this when the Legislature can't take action to protect the rights of their citizens."

Barr said the group tried to resolve the issue without legislation, asking the state to follow Maryland and Massachusetts in issuing orders not to enforce the state law while the Legislature waits to make its compliant with federal law.

Wyoming is one of 13 states faced with changes to their election law as a result of the McCutcheon decision.

The group filed the lawsuit on behalf of Dan and Carleen Brophy of Wilson. They plan to exceed the limit in the current election cycle, but must wait on the result of the decision.

“I believe the Legislature will wisely amend the law when it convenes next year,” said Boyd Wiggam, Wyoming Liberty Group staff attorney. “However, that’s well beyond this current election cycle. The Brophys want to speak out now, and an unconstitutional law should not stand in their way.”

The Secretary of State's office does not comment on pending litigation.

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