This case challenged a federal law (52 U.S.C. § 30119) that prohibits federal contractors from making contributions—even $1—to candidates for federal office or to political parties or committees in connection with federal elections. We think the statute violates their First Amendment rights, and their equal protection rights, because the federal employees who work alongside them are free to make contributions, as are the officers, directors, and shareholders of major corporations that have federal contracts.

We filed the case in October 2011 and sought a preliminary injunction to enable our clients to make contributions during the 2012 campaign. The district court denied that motion, and after various complicated procedural steps, the en banc D.C. Circuit ruled in July 2015 that the contribution ban was “closely drawn” to prevent the reality or appearance of corruption, and therefore constitutional. The unanimous opinion was written by Chief Judge Garland. A petition for certiorari was denied in January 2016.  

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

John K. Tanner (former Chief of the Voting Rights Section at DOJ); Advancement Project

Date filed

January 1, 2011