Judge Approves Settlement in Campaign Finance Lawsuit
U.S. District Court Judge Alan B. Johnson in Cheyenne approved a settlement in the case Wills v. Maxfield Wednesday.
Judge Johnson issued a consent order that halts enforcement of certain campaign finance laws against minor party and independent candidates and their contributors. The order comes a few weeks after the Wyoming Office of the Attorney General responded to a motion for preliminary injunction, agreeing that injunction should issue.
The Wyoming Liberty group filed suit in late June on behalf of Jennifer Young, Constitution Party candidate for Wyoming Secretary of State, and Don Wills, who wanted to contribute to Young's campaign during the primary but couldn't.
The suit challenged state campaign finance provisions as violating the constitutional rights of free speech and equal protection. State law restricts minor party and independent candidates from raising almost any campaign money until after the August 19 primary and allows major party candidates to raise up to twice the amount of money per contributor
Wyoming Liberty Group staff attorney Steve Klein said the result of the judges order is that "minor party and independent candidates may now raise money for their races and contributors may donate to their campaigns. It's a great day for free speech."
The consent order takes effect immediately.Klein said the Liberty Group wants the Wyoming Legislature to amend state law to reflect the settlement.