FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION v. CRUZ | The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression

Case Overview

Legal Principle at Issue

1. Whether appellees have standing to challenge the statutory loan-repayment limit. and 2. Whether the loan-repayment limit violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.

Action

The Court ruled that the appellant had standing and that Section 304 of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 unconstitutionally burdened core political speech.

Facts/Syllabus

During his 2018 Senate reelection campaign and consistent with federal law, Ted Cruz loaned $260,000 to his campaign committee, Ted Cruz for Senate. To repay these and other campaign debts, campaigns may continue to receive contributions after election day. Section 304 of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 restricts the use of post-election contributions by limiting the amount that a candidate may be repaid from such funds to $250,000. The Committee began repaying Cruz’s loans after the 20-day post-election window for repaying amounts over $250,000 had closed. It accordingly repaid Cruz only $250,000, leaving $10,000 of his personal loans unpaid. Cruz and the Committee filed this action in Federal District Court, alleging that Section 304 of BCRA violates the First Amendment and raising challenges to the FEC’s implementing regulation. The District Court granted Cruz and his Committee summary judgment on their constitutional claim, holding that the loan-repayment limitation burdens political speech without sufficient justification, and dismissed their challenges to the regulation as moot.

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