Cases & Deals

Political committee NYPPP secures invalidation of New York law limiting donations to independent-expenditure committees

Client(s) New York Progress and Protection PAC

On May 6, 2014, the District Court for the Southern District of New York entered summary judgment in favor of Jones Day client New York Progress and Protection PAC ("NYPPP"), invalidating a New York statute that forbade political committees that only make independent expenditures from accepting more than $150,000 from any donor.

NYPPP is a political committee that advocates for candidates in New York elections. NYPPP does not make contributions to candidates or political parties; rather, it conducts its advocacy solely through independent expenditures (primarily in the form of video, radio, and print advertising). Under New York law, however, independent-expenditure committees like NYPPP were previously limited in the amount they could accept from any particular donor. In 2013, this law hindered NYPPP's ability to advocate for its preferred candidate in New York City's mayoral election.

Accordingly, in September 2013, NYPPP filed a lawsuit seeking the invalidation of New York's donation limit, arguing that the First Amendment forbids limits on the amount that individuals can donate—and committees can accept—to support independent expenditures. Although the District Court denied NYPPP's motion for a preliminary injunction, NYPPP immediately appealed, and within one week secured a reversal in the Second Circuit. On remand, after the Attorney General conducted expedited discovery, the District Court entered summary judgment in NYPPP's favor and permanently enjoined New York from enforcing the donation limit. Jones Day litigated the entire case—from the filing of the complaint to the entry of final judgment—in a span of seven months.

New York Progress and Protection PAC v. Walsh et al., No. 1:13-cv-6769 (S.D.N.Y.); No. 13-3889 (2d Cir.)