Judges in decision 6-3, which divided the court on ideological grounds, agreed that a somewhat vague section of the law violates the Constitution. The decision was made just at the moment when the agitation for the 2022 by-elections is intensified.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority that the provision “complicates major political speeches without proper justification.”
The Biden administration defended the provision as an anti-corruption measure, and in her speech, Judge Elena Kagan wrote that the majority, rejecting it, “gives the green light to all disgusting deals that Congress deems right to stop.” She said the decision “could only further tarnish the country’s political system”.
The case may be important for some candidates for federal positions who want to provide large loans to their companies. But the administration also said that the vast majority of such loans are less than $ 250,000, and therefore the provision challenged by Cruz does not apply.
The case concerns part of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. The regulations state that if a candidate borrows money before the election, the campaign cannot return to the candidate more than $ 250,000 for money raised after election day. Loans can still be repaid with money raised before the election.
Cruz argued that this makes candidates think twice about borrowing money because it significantly increases the risk that any loan candidate will never be fully repaid. The lower court found the provision unconstitutional.
Cruz, who has served in the Senate since 2013 and unsuccessfully ran for president in 2016, lent his campaign $ 260,000 the day before the 2018 general election to challenge the law.
The government said that in the five election cycles to 2020, Senate candidates had given 588 credits to their campaigns, about 80% of which were less than $ 250,000. Candidates for the House of Representatives provided 3,444 loans, almost 90% less than $ 250,000.
Federal Election Commission case against Ted Cruz for the Senate, 21-12.
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