We just won in a case that could lead to the end to Super PACs
By Jason Harrow
Breaking news: we won. This is not a drill. We really just won a major case in Alaska that could eventually lead to the nationwide end to Super PACs.
We brought the case last year on behalf of a cross-partisan group of three Alaska citizens — Donna Patrick and Pat Lambert of Fairbanks, and James Barnett of Anchorage — who jointly challenged Alaska’s 2012 decision to abandon enforcement of strict limits on donations to independent political groups, aka Super PACs.
In a landmark opinion, Anchorage Superior Court Judge William F. Morse agreed with us and ordered Alaska to once again enforce strict limits on donations to Super PACs. The judge ruled that the state’s election enforcement agency “has construed the constitutional restrictions on these types of contributions too broadly.” He thus said that the state agency “should reinstate enforcement of the contribution limits” to Super PACs.
If that’s upheld, the impact can only be described as humongous. It means no more wealthy individuals, corporations, or special interests writing checks for $10,000 or $100,000 or even more to Super PACs. It means the return of a more sane campaign finance policy and greatera dependence on the people, not the powerful.
The victory was the result of years of hard work, and it reaffirms what we have known for years: Citizens United did not create the Super PAC; instead, unlimited donations have flown into independent groups because of incorrect interpretations by lower courts and state elections agencies. We just have to get those bad decisions off the books. This is the first step.
But here’s the thing: we really need your help to keep this case going. We can win this for good — heck, we just won the first step — but we’re now surely headed to the Alaska Supreme Court, and, potentially, the U.S. Supreme Court. But real talk: that ain’t free. We need money to litigate the cases and to spread the message that there is a way to end Super PACs. Please chip in and help us reach our fundraising goals so that we can keep existing in 2020 and make the case the best we can.
This is a great day, but it’s only a start of a longer battle.
Jason Harrow is Equal Citizens Executive Director and Chief Counsel.