Both sides pleased with campaign-finance ruling

The Supreme Court yesterday struck down Vermont’s laws limiting political contributions and campaign expenditures but upheld the legal framework that underpins major campaign-finance laws.

Both proponents and opponents of campaign-finance regulation called the decision a positive development.

Vermont had restricted state candidates to raising contributions in increments ranging from $200 to $400 per election cycle, depending on the office sought, as well as the amount of money candidates could spend.

James Bopp Jr., an attorney for the James Madison Center for Free Speech who challenged the law, said the ruling “closed the door on expenditure limits” and “can be viewed as progress.”

Fred Wertheimer, director of Democracy 21, a leading advocate for regulation, said the court upheld the constitutionality of bans on corporate and union contributions and expenditures, as well as bans on unlimited soft-money donations and limits on coordinated spending between candidates and parties.