Preston v. Leake, No. 10-2294

Decided Nov. 7, 2011

Sarah Preston, a North Carolina registered lobbyist, commenced this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the North Carolina State Board of Elections, challenging the constitutionally, facially and as applied, of North Carolina’s “Campaign Contributions Prohibition.” The statute prohibits any registered lobbyist from contributing to the campaign of any candidate for the North Carolina General Assembly or the Council of State. Preston alleged that this statute violates her rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court’s finding that the statute is constitutional both facially and as applied to Preston, as a valid exercise of North Carolina’s legislative prerogative to address potential corruption and the appearance of corruption in the State. The statute did not prohibit a substantial amount of protected conduct in relation to its plainly legitimate sweep and therefore is closely related to North Carolina’s expressed interest of preventing corruption and the appearance of corruption from lobbyists’ contributions.

Full Opinion

-Sara I. Salehi

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