ACLU Challenges Lobbyist Contribution Ban
Special Report - August 25, 2008
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina has filed a lawsuit to overturn a North Carolina statute prohibiting lobbyists from making political contributions to candidates for the state legislature and other state offices. The complaint in Preston v. Leake, filed on August 19 in federal district court, argues that the state’s ban on lobbyist contributions violates the freedom of speech and freedom of association guaranteed under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The lobbyist contribution ban was passed in 2006 as part of a comprehensive rewrite of the state’s ethics and lobbying laws following the conviction and imprisonment of former Speaker of the House Jim Black and others for acts of corruption while in office.
“The lobbyist contribution ban was enacted by the North Carolina General Assembly in an effort to help restore a measure of integrity to the state’s political system,” said John Rustin, vice president and director of government relations for the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “While we recognize that limiting the ability of lobbyists to contribute to the political campaigns of elected officials with whom they work closely may raise constitutional questions among some individuals, the ban is a reasonable control against undue influence and potential wrongdoing.”
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