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Federal court strikes down one portion of Alabama's PAC-to-PAC transfer ban

A judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama has held that Alabama’s ban to transfers between PACs is unconstitutional in one narrow circumstance. (Under the Alabama law, the definition of PAC includes political parties and candidates’ principal campaign committees.)

On December 14, the court ruled for the Alabama Democratic Conference (ADC) and several of its leaders, holding the law is invalid if the ADC is gathering funds that will be used for independent expenditures – that is, contributions that will not go to candidates’ committees. The court ruled,

Given that preventing corruption or the appearance of corruption cannot be a valid interest if contributions are being made for purposes of independent expenditures, it is clear that the State’s interest in stopping corruption, or the appearance thereof, cannot support a ban on PAC-to-PAC transfers if the money does not ultimately get funneled to a candidate. Because the State cannot establish that it has a sufficient interest in infringing upon the ADC’s First Amendment rights, this court must find that, as a matter of law, the PAC-to-PAC transfer ban is unconstitutional as applied to Plaintiffs. (Opinion, at 21.)

The court’s final judgment ruled that ADC may receive funds from other PACs if it keeps its funds in two separate bank accounts – one for the independent-expenditure contributions; the other for money it will give to candidates.

The ADC was represented by Edward Still (Birmingham), John K. Tanner (Washington DC), and Osaygefo Grubbs (Montgomery).

The opinion and final judgment are below:

24 Order Granting Pl Mot for SJ

24 Order Granting Pl Mot for SJ

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