Ted Cruz suing FEC over reimbursement limits for personal loans to campaign

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzProgressive millionaire group backs Cisneros, McBath in first public endorsements Manchin and Sinema must help Biden make the Supreme Court look more like America Flake meets with Erdoğan in first official duties as US ambassador MORE (R-Texas) sued the Federal Election Commission (FEC) Monday over rules that cap how much money he can reimburse himself for his 2018 reelection race against former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeO'Rourke says he raised record .2M since launching campaign for Texas governor Eleven interesting races to watch in 2022 Cruz bullish on his 2024 chances: 'The runner-up is almost always the next nominee' MORE (D-Texas).

Cruz is challenging a section of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act that says campaigns cannot use more than $250,000 in funds raised after an election to repay a candidate for personal loans to their campaign.

In the lawsuit, first reported by BuzzFeed News, the Texas lawmaker says he put $260,000 of his own money into his successful reelection campaign, above the $250,000 limit. 

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Cruz argues that the restrictions violate the First Amendment by undercutting the rights of candidates and donors to express themselves by financing political speech.

"The First Amendment commands that 'Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech.' This bedrock liberty was designed to ensure the full and free political debate that is the hallmark of our democratic form of government," the lawsuit says. "At its core, it protects the rights of citizens to engage in political speech."

Cruz cites Supreme Court decisions striking down laws that limit the amount of money flowing into the political arena, including Citizens United v. FEC and Davis v. FECto argue precedent for his case.

The FEC did not immediately responded to a request for comment on the lawsuit from The Hill.

A spokesperson for Cruz’s 2018 Senate campaign told The Hill that they support the lawsuit.

“To ensure a vigorous democratic process, Congress cannot pass laws designed to entrench career politicians at the expense of the First Amendment,” Catherine Frazier said in a statement. 

“The provision we are challenging benefits just two classes of candidates: the incumbent politicians who can raise enough money from special interests to ensure their re-election, and the ultra-wealthy candidates who can afford to give tens of millions of dollars to their campaigns without being repaid,” she added.

Updated April 2, 9:46 a.m.