U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court will consider Sen. Cruz's challenge to campaign loan restrictions

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The U.S. Supreme Court will consider a First Amendment challenge to a campaign finance law that restricts repayment of candidates’ personal loans to their campaigns.

The high court will hear a case brought by Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and his Senate campaign, report Reuters, the Washington Post, SCOTUSblog, Courthouse News Service and Law.com. The court agreed to hear the case Sept. 30.

The restriction is part of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. It imposes a $250,000 limit on the amount of donations collected after an election that campaigns can use to repay candidates’ loans to their campaigns. Cruz had loaned his 2018 Senate campaign $260,000 in his successful race against Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat and former member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

A special three-judge panel ruled that the law violated the First Amendment because it burdens political expression. Cruz and his campaign are seeking to affirm the judgment with a “motion to affirm or dismiss.”

The law is intended to thwart a donor’s expectations of favors from the candidate in exchange for an after-election contribution, according to Reuters. The Federal Election Commission argues that the law is needed to avoid “a particularly serious risk of corruption.”

The FEC also contends that Cruz and his campaign have no standing to challenge the repayment cap because they haven’t cited evidence that post-election contributions were used to repay Cruz’s personal loan.

The Supreme Court said in accepting the appeal that consideration of the jurisdictional question will be postponed to the hearing on the merits.

SCOTUSblog has documents for the case, Federal Election Commission v. Ted Cruz for Senate, at this page.

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