Conservative Justices Side with Ted Cruz in Campaign Finance Case; Justice Kagan Slams Majority for Being ‘Allergic to All Campaign Finance Regulation’


Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas)

The Supreme Court’s conservative majority ruled 6-3 in favor of Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) Monday, handing the two-term senator a big win on the issue of campaign finance.

The case, which is stylized as Federal Election Commission v. Ted Cruz for Senate, challenged federal anti-corruption laws that restrict how private loans can be repaid by political campaigns.

Cruz, knowing the law, essentially created the controversy underlying the litigation. He was running for re-election to the U.S. Senate and loaned $260,000 in personal funds to his election committee on the day before the 2018 general election. Section 304 of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (“BCRA”) put a $250,000 cap on repayment, meaning that anything above the cap may only be repaid with pre-election contributions and all payments must occur within 20 days post-election. Anything outside those parameters are then to be recharacterized a contribution, as opposed to a loan.

Given the regulations, Cruz’s $260,000 loan was separated into the two portions required by law: the first $250,000 was repaid to him, and the remaining $10,000 was recharacterized as a contribution. The separation was key to Cruz’s establishing actual financial harm suffered as a result of the BCRA. Cruz immediately challenged Section 304 in court, arguing that the loan-repayment limitation violated his First Amendment rights.

Chief Justice John Roberts penned the opinion for the Court’s six-member majority, which included Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. Roberts adopted a posture of understanding of the plight of political candidates, explaining that candidates often loan money to their own election committees, “to jumpstart a fledgling campaign or finish strong in a tight race,” and noting that Cruz’s 2018 senatorial campaign was “the most expensive Senate…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *