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Federal Court Blocks New York Law Limiting Political Contributions

AP Photo / Kathy Willens

NYPPP first filed suit in late September over a state law that places a $150,000 limit on some political contributions by individuals in New York state. NYPPP requested an injunction so that it could accept a larger contribution before election day, but a district court denied the group's motion on Oct. 18. In reversing that decision on Thursday, the appeals court ruled that "plaintiffs here has a substantial likelihood of success on the merits." 

"The hardship faced by NYPPP and its donors from the denial of relief is significant," the court ruled. "Every sum that a donor is forbidden to contribute to NYPPP because of this statute reduces constitutionally protected political speech. Much of the district court’s analysis of hardship focuses on hardship to the election system arising from the timing of this suit and this motion for a preliminary injunction. But as the Supreme Court has emphasized, the value of political speech is at its zenith at election time."

According to The New York Times, Shaun McCutcheon, a conservative donor from Alabama, has pledged to donate at least $200,000 to NYPPP. But the group has yet to report spending any money supporting Lhota, and "it is not clear how many people would be willing to contribute given the overwhelming lead in the polls held by the Democratic candidate, Bill de Blasio."