Republicans File Lawsuit Challenging Coordination Ban

Posted November 13, 2008 at 11:56am

Less than two weeks after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) lost his presidential bid, the Republican National Committee is challenging the six-year law that bears his name and bans coordination between state and national parties.

In a lawsuit filed on Thursday, RNC lawyers asked a Washington, D.C., federal court to throw out a portion of McCain’s Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, which prohibits financial coordination between national parties, such as the RNC, and their state and local affiliates.

In court papers, the RNC wrote that it intends to register state-level, RNC-affiliated political organizations in New Jersey, Virginia and California ahead of the 2009 elections, as well as establish separate state-level accounts for redistricting and court costs.

The “RNC is ready and able to do this activity, and it would do this activity but for the fact that the federal funds restriction makes it a crime,” RNC lawyer Jim Bopp wrote. “Unless RNC is able to obtain the timely judicial relief requested herein, it will not do this activity.”

“RNC intends to solicit and use non-federal funds in materially similar situations in the future, if permitted.”

RNC Chairman Mike Duncan maintained that the ban infringes “on the First Amendment’s core: political speech and association.”

“The RNC must have the ability to support state candidates, coordinate expenditures with our candidates, and truly engage in political activity on a national level,” Duncan said in a statement.