August 13, 2014
By Chuck Lindell
A federal appeals court has tossed out Texas’ waiting period for new political action committees.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the rules — requiring political committees to collect contributions from 10 donors and to wait 60 days before before being able to raise or spend more than $500 — were an improper limit on the freedom of speech.
“The 60-day limit places a severe burden on speech because it may even preclude expression necessary to provide an immediate response to late-breaking (political) events,” the three-judge panel ruled.
In addition, requiring a committee to identify 10 contributors before being allowed to exceed the $500 limit is an unconstitutional limit on expenditures and contributions, the court ruled.
The court upheld the state’s ban on corporate contributions to political committees and a requirement that committees name a treasurer.
The challenge was filed by three political committees and a nonprofit, including the Catholic Leadership Coalition of Texas.