Federal Ban on Government Contractor Political Contributions Upheld

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On November 2, 2012, the District Court for the District of Columbia, two days after oral argument, upheld the long-standing ban on political contributions from federal government contractors. In Wagner v. Federal Election Commission ("Wagner"), three independent contractors with various federal agencies argued that the ban on federal contractor contributions in section 441c of the Federal Election Campaign Act ("FECA") violated their First and Fifth Amendment rights. A copy of the opinion is available below.

The ruling keeps federal contractors outside the bounds of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United. Unlike other corporations, federal contractors may not make contributions, either directly or in-kind, to independent expenditure-only committees, commonly known as Super PACs. In addition, while officers and employees of federal contractors are free to make personal political contributions, and to establish and donate to federal PACs, an individual who IS the federal contractor may not make contributions to federal candidates, national political parties or federal Super PACs.

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