State Supreme Court says Indiana law bans corporate contributions to super PACs
The Indiana Supreme Court said state law bans corporate contributions to independent political action committees, or super PACs — even as the state acknowledges such a ban would be unconstitutional.
The state court answered a question posed by a federal appeals court as part of an ongoing lawsuit.
Super PACs are groups that spend money on political races without coordinating with candidates or political parties. In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Citizens United case that limiting corporate contributions to super PACs is unconstitutional.
But that’s exactly what Indiana Right To Life’s super PAC said Indiana law does. It wanted to accept a $10,000 contribution from a local media company, Sarkes Tarzian, Inc. No one told the Indiana Right To Life PAC it couldn’t accept the money — and the state has said it never would have stopped the transaction — but the PAC sued in federal court anyway.
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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said, to make a ruling, it wanted the Indiana Supreme Court to first weigh in on whether state law really does ban unlimited contributions to super PACs.
The state high court said it does. It said the law specifically lays out which groups corporations can give to, and at what limits. And because super PACs aren’t mentioned, the court said, corporations can’t give anything to them.
The court’s opinion acknowledged that both sides expect the federal court to stop the state from enforcing the ban — even as the state has said all along it never would.