Appeals court ruling mixed on Alaska campaign finance laws

Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – A divided federal appeals court panel ruled Tuesday that Alaska’s limit on what nonresidents can contribute to candidates is unconstitutional.

The three-judge panel, however, unanimously upheld other campaign contribution limits it said were tailored to prevent corruption or the appearance of corruption.

The case brought by three individuals and an Alaska Republican Party district challenged elements of state campaign finance law.

The judges upheld limits on contributions made by individuals to candidates and groups that are not political parties. They also upheld limits on the total amount a political party can give municipal candidates.

They split on nonresident contributions. The majority found the aggregate limit on what candidates can get from nonresidents violates the First Amendment.

The opinion says states must show limits fight potential corruption and can’t simply go after “undue influence.”