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U.S. District Court Upholds Ban on Federal Contractor Contributions

May 2012

On April 16, 2012, the U.S. District Court upheld the ban on federal contractor contributions to federal political committees contained in the Federal Election Campaign Act by denying a request for a preliminary injunction in Wagner v. FEC.

The plaintiffs in the case, three individual federal contractors, argued that the ban on political contributions by federal contractors was unconstitutional because it violated their First and Fifth Amendment rights.  Among other things, the plaintiffs claimed that current evidence does not suggest that contributions from government contractors would cause corruption.  The plaintiffs further stated that similarly situated individuals, including federal government employees and individuals associated with corporations that are government contractors, are not subject to a contribution ban.

Based on these arguments, the plaintiffs claimed that a preliminary injunction should be granted barring the Federal Election Commission from enforcing the federal contractor ban.  The court found that the request for a preliminary injunction did not show that the plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits and denied the request.

The opinion denying the request for a preliminary injunction is available here.