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Supreme Court hears Senator Ted Cruz’s campaign finance law challenge

Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 4:11 PM EST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) wants to get rid of a part of federal campaign finance law, arguing it violates free speech.

Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard Cruz’s challenge to a provision which prohibits federal campaigns from paying back more than $250,000 in loans to the candidate. The provision was passed by Congress as an anti-corruption protection.

Cruz’s attorney, Charles Cooper, said, “It limits the candidate’s ability to loan his own money to advocate his own election. The Supreme Court has said in many cases that Congress cannot do that.”

A lower court sided with Cruz and found the law does harm political candidate free speech. It’s now up to the justices on Supreme Court to decide whether they believe the lower court’s decision was right.

During Wednesday’s oral arguments, the U.S. Department of Justice said Cruz intentionally cost himself $10,000 so he could claim he was injured by the law. Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart said Cruz should not be allowed to challenge the law because his actions were intentional.

When asked about the DOJ’s accusations, Cooper said, “We’ve been very candid that the loan Senator Cruz made to his campaign was made for the purpose of challenging this statute.”

Cooper also mentioned landmark civil rights cases that included intentional acts opening a path to the Supreme Court.

While answering questions from justices, Stewart rejected the similarities.

Stewart said, “It’s a different case when plaintiffs stand on their rights and insist on doing what they would do if the law were not in effect and experience injury as a result of it.”

The Republican National Committee and Republican senators, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), filed briefs in favor of Cruz. Advocates for more campaign finance restrictions have lined up on the other side and argue current law helps prevent corruption.

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