9th Circuit Upholds Injunction Protecting Free Speech in Recall Campaigns

April 1, 2012

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an injunction preventing the government from restricting how much money people may give to recall campaigns in Washington state.

Robin Farris led the effort to recall a county official with volunteer help from attorneys Tom Oldfield and Jeff Helsdon. Washington, however, called this help an in-kind campaign contribution, and Washington law imposes an $800 limit on contributions to recall campaigns. Represented by IJ, they challenged the limit in court. The district court preliminarily enjoined the law and the 9th Circuit affirmed that ruling.

Although the campaign did not collect enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, the injunction preventing the government from enforcing the law against the campaign is important because it ensures the campaign can now raise funds to retire its debts without a government-enforced cap on how much individuals may contribute.

The case now returns to the district court for trial.

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