U.S. District Judge Janet Hall in New Haven, Connecticut,
dismissed part of the lawsuit and denied the group's bid for a
preliminary injunction against political spending laws it said limit
the ability of political groups to buy independent ads backing
The DGA sued in April, saying under laws adopted in 2013,
Connecticut unfairly treats independent money spent on ads and other
political messages by the national group as contributions to
particular candidates, and thus subject to campaign finance limits.
But Hall on Tuesday said the DGA lacked standing to challenge a
statute that it said treats a candidate's association with it as
evidence of coordination, chilling its ability to make independent
Because the law "cannot be read to pose any threat of injury to DGA
on the sole basis of its participation in associational activities
with a candidate, DGA lacks standing to challenge the statute," Hall
The judge said the DGA in contrast did have standing to challenge
the state's definition of what constituted an "expenditure," which
the group said did not distinguish between spending made to support
a candidate and for issue advocacy.
But Hall declined to block enforcement of the law, saying she could
not conclude the DGA had clearly established a likelihood it would
prevail in demonstrating the law was overly broad.
A spokeswoman for Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen, whose
office defended the state, said it was "reviewing the decision and
considering appropriate next steps in consultation with our client,"
the State Elections Enforcement Commission.
A lawyer for the DGA did not respond to a request for comment.
[to top of second column]
The U.S. Supreme Court, in a series of decisions in recent years has
cleared the way for big-money donors to play a larger role in
A landmark 2010 ruling in the Citizens United case allowed
independent groups to spend unlimited amounts of money on issue
advertisements, which are not linked to a particular campaign.
In April, the high court also knocked down an element of federal
campaign finance law by allowing individual donors to give money to
as many campaigns, parties and committees as they wish.
Connecticut is one of 36 U.S. states with a gubernatorial election
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, faces a potential
election rematch with a strong Republican rival, Tom Foley, a
businessman who lost the 2010 election by less than 1 percent of the
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Eric Walsh)
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