Court Battles

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

Greg Nash

Sen. Ted Cruz (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’Rourke (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.

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.

Tags Beto O'Rourke campaign donations FEC free speech Neomi Rao Senate race Ted Cruz Texas

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