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WyLiberty Attorneys Call for Immediate Change to Wyoming Election Law

CHEYENNE – Wyoming Liberty Group attorneys delivered a letter to the Wyoming Secretary of State and Attorney General today, asking them to immediately cease enforcement of a provision of the Wyoming Election Code that limits aggregate political contributions in state elections to $25,000. The letter follows a decision by the United States Supreme Court last week, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, which overturned the aggregate contribution limit in federal law as an unconstitutional abridgement of free speech.

“The First Amendment limits state law just as it does federal law,” said Benjamin Barr, lead counsel to WyLiberty. “Wyoming is one of the few states with aggregate contribution limits, and should be the first to recognize its unconstitutionality.”

If the state executives agree to cease enforcement, the change would allow the state to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling before the next legislative session when the law can be officially amended.

“The 2015 session is almost a year away and, most importantly, there is an election between now and then,” said Steve Klein, WyLiberty staff attorney.  “By agreeing to cease enforcement of aggregate limits, the Secretary of State and Attorney General would make the 2014 state elections more competitive and prevent a potentially costly lawsuit that the state would almost certainly lose.”

The change would not alter the individual contribution limit for state candidates—currently $1,000—or any other provision of the Wyoming Election Code.

“Some have criticized the McCutcheon decision as only a benefit to rich donors, but that’s a very narrow-minded view,” said Barr. “In Wyoming, in particular, there are 75 legislative elections this year as well as five for statewide executive office. Lifting the aggregate cap would give every candidate a chance to raise money from interested donors, free from the current arbitrary limit.”

WyLiberty attorneys recently settled a free speech case against the city of Cheyenne on behalf of Ron Williams, overturning the city’s quantity and timing restrictions on political yard signs.  Another case brought by WyLiberty, Free Speech v. Federal Election Commission, is currently being considered for review by the United States Supreme Court.

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Monday, 25 September 2017
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