CHEYENNE – Wyoming Liberty Group attorneys filed suit in the Wyoming federal district court today against Wyoming Secretary of State Max Maxfield, challenging the aggregate two-year individual contribution limit of $25,000 under Wyoming law as an unconstitutional abridgment of free speech. The suit is brought on behalf of Dan and Carleen Brophy of Wilson.
“Both Dan and Carleen have generously supported a number of candidates for the Wyoming House and Senate, complying with the $1,000 contribution limit per candidate,” said Benjamin Barr, of counsel to WyLiberty and counsel to the Brophys. “There are many more candidates they would like to support, but they are prohibited from doing so. This case protects the Brophys’ right to support candidates they believe in without a government cap.”
The lawsuit follows a recent decision by the United States Supreme Court, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, which struck down aggregate contribution limits under federal law. The Court ruled that contribution limits per candidate adequately prevent corruption, and there is no justification for limiting contributions across the board.
“We believe we should be free to lawfully support as many candidates as we wish, up to the individual limit allowed in Wyoming,” said Dan Brophy. “And we should be able to do this without having to arbitrarily choose whose contributions we must reduce or eliminate to remain in compliance with the current law.”
WyLiberty attorneys asked the Secretary of State and Wyoming Attorney General to halt enforcement of the aggregate limits in April, which both offices declined to do. In June, WyLiberty staff attorney Steve Klein testified before the Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions committee of the Wyoming Legislature in favor of changing the law.
“I believe the Legislature will wisely amend the law when it convenes next year,” said Boyd Wiggam, WyLiberty staff attorney and co-counsel to the Brophys. “However, that’s well beyond this current election cycle. The Brophys want to speak out now, and an unconstitutional law should not stand in their way.”
Benjamin Barr, counsel, 202-595-4671