Alaska's $500 limit on campaign contributions may be reheard in Ninth Circuit Court - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, November 27, 2021
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Alaska’s $500 limit on campaign contributions may be reheard in Ninth Circuit Court

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A judge of Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has called for a vote to determine whether the case involving the constitutionality of Alaska’s $500 campaign contribution limit should be heard “en banc,” or by the entire panel.

The lawsuit Thompson vs. Hebdon has been dragging on for seven years. During that time, one of the plaintiffs, Aaron Downing, died. The other plaintiffs are Jim Crawford and David Thompson.

The men had challenged the State of Alaska’s statute that puts a $500 annual limit on an individual contribution to a political candidate, (2) the $500 limit on an individual contribution to a non-political party group, (3) annual limits on what a political party—including its subdivisions—may contribute to a candidate, and (4) the annual aggregate limit on contributions a candidate may accept from nonresidents of Alaska.

The decision went to the Supreme Court, which partially remanded it back to the Ninth Circuit. There, two judges made the decision in favor of the plaintiffs, saying the $500 limit is unconstitutional.

The Dunleavy Administration could have asked for the full Ninth Circuit to hear the case en band, but did not, even though Democrats begged him to quite publicly. The $500 limit works best for Democrats because their candidates enjoy more funding from unions.

Instead, a judge on the panel asked for the rehearing, likely at the request of Democrat Party interests; those interests control much of the judicial system.

Both sides of the case — the State and Thompson and Crawford, are directed by the court to submit briefs setting forth their positions as to whether the case should be reheard en banc. The court gave them 21 days to file the briefs.

Meanwhile, the Alaska Public Offices Commission says the $500 limit stands until the court issues a final order.

Read: APOC says $500 limit stands, for now

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Alaska is a sovereign state. We constitutionally hold elections how our state senate decides, not the maoist 9th circuit says.

    • Well, yes, Caterina, we are a sovereign state and we passed a law that limits big donations from contributors Outside, which makes one wonder why Governor Dunleavy is not seeking to overturn this ruling. Got any thoughts on that?

    • Alaska has no more right than another state.

  • No one, and especially no party, should control the judicial branch. Constitutionally the Judicial decides constitutionality, nothing more. Time for a reset-fire them all. But then in this day and age, even the military is politicized by one party. Is our status completely hopeless?

    • Not hopeless AKD, but we have a LOT of work to do. The $500 limit, at the time it passed, was considered a breakthrough way to limit dark money, and oligarch and plutarch control over our politics. Unfortunately, the limit gave a lot more power to labor unions with their ability to push their members to vote the way their leadership wants. And yeah, we need to change the way we appoint judges.

  • In a state where the past four governors have used emotional vitriol, blackmail and shady deeds to steal our money, money now, worth 80+ billion. A sum we couldn’t spend in all our lifetimes. And yet, one out of five seniors prefer alpo, mid month.

  • Oh the virtue!

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