Brophy v. Maxfield
Brophy v. Maxfield
Benjamin Barr, Stephen Klein, Boyd Wiggam
July 24, 2014 (United States District Court for the District of Wyoming)
Cause of Action:
Wyoming law prohibits citizens from contributing more than $25,000 in aggregate contributions to state candidates in a 2-year period. This is an unconstitutional abridgment of free speech under the First Amendment.
In the 2014 election cycle, Dan and Carleen Brophy generously supported a number of candidates for the Wyoming House and Senate, complying with the $1,000 contribution limit per candidate under state law. However, even before the primary date the Brophys quickly reached the $25,000 aggregate cap under Wyoming law. There are many more candidates the Brophys would like to support, and 75 races in the House and Senate. Under the $25,000 aggregate limit, the Brophys can each maximize their contributions to 25 candidates or lessen their support in order to support more.
Following the McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission decision by the United States Supreme Court, aggregate limits such as this are unconstitutional. They are not narrowly tailored to prevent corruption or its appearance, because the $1,000 individual contribution limit already achieves that.
We filed suit on behalf of the Brophys to halt the enforcement of the $25,000 aggregate limit.
- On July 25, 2014, we filed suit on behalf of Dan and Carleen Brophy in Wyoming federal court against Secretary of State Max Maxfield in his official capacity. The complaint is available here.
- On August 29, 2014, Judge Alan Johnson approved a settlement in which the Secretary of State agreed to halt the enforcement of the aggregate contribution limit.
A quick, uncompromising victory allowed the Brophys (and anyone else) to support more candidates in the 2014 Wyoming election cycle and will protect contributors from aggregate limits in all future Wyoming elections.