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Cruz wants donors to repay $10K he loaned to his 2018 campaign

Cruz wants donors to repay $10K he loaned to his 2018 campaign
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz urges Supreme Court to take up Pennsylvania election challenge OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump administration proceeds with rollback of bird protections despite objections | Trump banking proposal on fossil fuels sparks backlash from libertarians | EU 2019 greenhouse gas emissions down 24 percent Trump's NATO ambassador pledges 'seamless' transition to Biden administration MORE (R-Texas) argued in federal court this week that donors should be allowed to repay $10,000 he loaned to his 2018 Senate campaign despite exceeding a cap set by the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Cruz, who defeated former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeMexican president breaks with other world leaders, refusing to acknowledge Biden win until election is finalized Mexico emerging as foreign policy challenge for Biden Beyoncé sports pro-Biden mask on Instagram MORE (D-Texas) in a tight race that garnered national attention, borrowed $260,000 from a personal investment account in 2018 and donated it to his campaign shortly before the election, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Federal election law stipulates that candidates have up to 20 days after the election to collect donations and use them to repay personal loans to a campaign. After the 20th day, they can recoup no more than $250,000.

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Cruz's lawyer argued in court this week that the FEC cap amounts to a suppression of First Amendment rights, and that he should be able to collect the remaining $10,000 from donors, the newspaper reported.

The FEC argued that candidates should not be able to use donors as a personal piggy bank.

Judge Neomi Rao of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit noted during the court hearing that making donations after an election carries more weight than contributions beforehand.

“If what you’re looking for is influence or access, you’re not certain you’ll get it before the election. After the election, there’s some greater certainty,” Rao said, according to the National Law Journal.

Cruz's campaign last year sued the FEC over a similar provision and lost, The Dallas Morning News reported, and has replenished his campaign funds since the 2018 election. As of Oct. 1, his balance currently sits at $3.6 million.

The race between Cruz and O'Rourke was the most expensive Senate race in Texas history.