Kruse v. Cincinnati
Campaign Finance Reform
In 1998, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit struck down a City of Cincinnati Ordinance placing a $140,000 limit on city council campaign expenditures.
The Brennan Center filed an amicus brief arguing that reasonable mandatory spending limits were constitutional. The court rejected those arguments, however, holding that the ordinance violated the First Amendment, because it was not narrowly tailored to address the problem of money corruption in politics. Additionally, the Court rejected several justifications offered by the City for the ordinance that would potentially overcome the First Amendment concerns, including: remedying the alleged erosion of the public’s trust in the city government; controlling rising costs of campaigns so as to reduce time spent by candidates and officeholders on fundraising activities; and, eliminating the advantage of wealth in the electoral process. See Kruse v. Cincinnati 142 F.3d 907 (6th Cir.1998).