A 75-year-old prohibition on campaign contributions by individual federal contractors was upheld on Tuesday by a three-judge panel of the District of Columbia Circuit, a ruling favoring the Federal Election Commission’s position over two contractors for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
In Wagner v. FEC, the appeals judges meeting en banc determined that the government has an interest in such a ban to “prevent corruption and the appearance thereof and, in so doing, to protect the integrity of the electoral system by ensuring that federal contracts were awarded based on merit.”
Plaintiffs Lawrence Brown and Jan Miller, longtime USAID employees who left and were hired back to write a report on science and regulation, wanted to exercise their free speech rights and give money to candidates, political parties and traditional political action committees in the 2012 elections. They cited the First Amendment, equal protection and due process.
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