11th Circuit upholds Alabama PAC transfer ban

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A federal appeals court has upheld the constitutionality of Alabama’s campaign law, which bans the transfer of campaign contributions between one political action committee (PAC) to another.

On Tuesday, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower federal court ruling that the 2010 law is not an unconstitutional prohibition on free political speech. The court said Alabama has a sufficiently important issue in preventing corruption or the appearance of corruption, that the PAC-to-PAC transfer ban supports this interest.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange hailed the court’s ruling.

“The appeals court ruling is a significant victory in Alabama’s ongoing fight against public corruption,” said Strange. “The PAC-to-PAC transfer ban has been instrumental in limiting campaign corruption while adding greater transparency to the elections process. I am pleased the federal appeals court upheld the constitutionality of this important law.”

The Alabama Democratic Conference (ADC), one of the Yellowhammer state’s oldest political organizations, sued state officials over a portion of the law.

The appellate court’s three-judge panel ruled the law did not prevent the ADC from raising funds otherwise to support its activities.

“The ban does not limit the amount of money the ADC can raise; it only limits the ADC’s ability to raise money through a specific type of donation — PAC-to-PAC transfers,” said the opinion, written by U.S. Circuit Judge Beverly Martin. “Moreover, the ban does not directly affect the ADC’s campaign contributions or independent expenditures. The ADC can continue to make unlimited contributions and independent expenditures.”

Following the decision, Joe Reed, executive director of the ADC, said the decision would make it harder for the ADC to raise funds.

“Not only ADC, it’s going to be harder for everybody,” he said.

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