Supreme Court settles dispute between Ted Cruz and FEC over campaign loans

Washington – The Supreme Court announced Thursday that it would hear a dispute between Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) over campaign finance rules limiting the repayment of a candidate’s personal loans to his campaigns.

The FEC’s appeal of a lower court decision is one of five cases the High Court has added to its case as it prepares to start his new mandate On Monday. The legal battle over campaign funding restrictions joins high-profile cases involving abortion, the Second Amendment and religious freedom that judges will assess this term.

Cruz’s dispute with the FEC centers on a provision in the 2002 bipartisan campaign reform law that sets a cap of $ 250,000 on the amount of money raised after election day that a campaign can use. to repay the debt owed to the candidate. Federal law allows a campaign to borrow money from a third-party lender or the candidate himself, but the Texas senator argues that the $ 250,000 repayment limit violates the First Amendment.

Cruz argued that the FEC loan repayment limit “forces a candidate to think twice before granting these loans in the first place.”

According to deposits At the Supreme Court, Cruz loaned $ 260,000 towards his re-election campaign as part of his attempt to defeat Democrat Beto O’Rourke in the 2018 midterm elections. While his campaign raised more than 35 million dollars in total and had about $ 2.38 million in cash after the election, Cruz’s lawyers told the Supreme Court that this was not enough to pay off the candidate’s loans and satisfy the other creditors of the campaign.

Within 20 days of the election, the committee first used its cash to pay off creditors. Then, in December 2018, he reimbursed Cruz $ 250,000, leaving $ 10,000 in arrears. Because more than 20 days had passed since the election, the remaining debt of $ 10,000 could not be repaid, according to the FEC.

Cruz challenged the loan repayment limit in April 2019 as a First Amendment violation and sued the FEC in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. But the commission argued that he and his campaign committee lacked the legal capacity to prosecute and decided to dismiss the allegations.

The Federal District Court dismissed the FEC’s claim and found that not only did Cruz have standing to sue because he had suffered “financial damage of $ 10,000”, but that the loan repayment limit violated the first amendment. The limit, the court said, weighs on the exercise of political discourse.

The FEC asked the Supreme Court to overturn the lower court’s decision and send the case back for further consideration.

In a one-line order, the court said that “further consideration of the jurisdictional issue is postponed until the hearing of the case on the merits.”

The judges will likely hear the arguments in the dispute between Cruz and the FEC in early 2022.

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