Indiana Right to Life Victory Fund v. Morales, No. 22-1562 (7th Cir. 2023)Annotate this Case
independent-expenditure political action committees (super PACs) do not give money directly to candidates, party committees, or ballot-initiative movements. They spend money themselves to advocate for or against candidates, parties, or initiatives. The Fund wants to operate as an Indiana independent-expenditure PAC but fears that the state’s Election Code does not allow it to accept unlimited donations from corporations, in violation of the First Amendment. Indiana’s election officials say they do not believe their laws could be enforced that way.
Indiana’s campaign finance laws allow corporations to make contributions "to aid in the election or defeat of a candidate or the success or defeat of a political party or a public question.” Section 4 imposes limits on direct corporate contributions to candidates and party committees but imposes no cap on contributions to committees unaffiliated with a political party, such as PACs. Section 5 ensures that corporations cannot use PACs as a loophole to avoid contribution caps by requiring corporations to designate their contributions to PACs “for disbursement to a specific candidate or committee listed under section 4.” Section 5 does not address how or whether a corporation could earmark a contribution for a PAC's independent expenditure for or against a candidate or party.
The Seventh Circuit certified to the Indiana Supreme Court Does the Indiana Election Code—in particular, sections 3-9-2-3 to -6—prohibit or otherwise limit corporate contributions to PACs or other entities that engage in independent campaign-related expenditures?
This opinion or order relates to an opinion or order originally issued on February 2, 2023.