On January 19, 2022, the United States Supreme Court will hear an appeal by the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) from a successful challenge to campaign finance restrictions brought by Sen. Ted Cruz. The action centers on a provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) of 2002, otherwise known as McCain-Feingold, that restricts candidates’ ability to use campaign donations received after the election to pay back personal loans made to their campaign.

Pursuant to BCRA, the case was heard by a 3-judge district court panel in Washington, D.C. and, after the court struck down the limitation, the FEC appealed directly to the Supreme Court, which set it for oral argument. The case offers an opportunity for the Court to clarify and/or refine its campaign finance jurisprudence, including reviewing the real-world effect of such restrictions on political speech, the distinction devised in Buckley v. Valeo between expenditures and contributions, and the various levels of scrutiny for each.

The webinar will review the traditional free speech issues in the case (including the extent of any risk of corruption or its appearance presented by a candidate’s loan to his or her own campaign), as well as practical concerns about the effect these limitations might have on campaigns — including on the kinds of candidates who will be able to run for office.


— Donald A. Daugherty, Jr., Senior Litigator, Institute for Free Speech

— Harmeet Dhillon, Founding Partner, Dhillon Law Group Inc.

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