Sep 30, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court agrees to hear Ted Cruz's campaign finance case

Senator Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Supreme Court announced on Thursday that it would hear a lawsuit brought by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) challenging a federal rule that limits post-election political donations that help campaigns repay personal loans from candidates.

Driving the news: The Federal Election Commission appealed a lower court ruling that sided with Cruz, who argued that the law violated the First Amendment by restricting political expression.

Background: The law, which was passed in 2002 as part of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, puts a $250,000 cap on the amount of money raised after an election that campaigns can use to repay candidates for personal loans.

  • The FEC argues that that law is designed to prevent the appearance of quid pro quo corruption, the Washington Post notes.

Details: Cruz loaned his campaign $260,000 right before his 2018 election as a direct challenge to the rule and sued the FEC in 2019.

  • A three-judge panel in the D.C. District Court sided with Cruz in July, striking down the cap and setting up the FEC's appeal to the Supreme Court.

What they're saying: Ted Cruz spokesperson Steve Guest called the decision "great news." 

  • "Existing FEC rules benefit incumbent politicians and the super wealthy by making it harder for challengers to run for office. We’re confident the Supreme Court will again rule in favor of the First Amendment and free speech," Guest added.

What's next: The case is one of five the Supreme Court added to its docket before a new term begins on Monday.

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