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How Ted Cruz Became a ‘Blatantly Cynical’ Election Law Troll

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In the pantheon of politicians fighting for unpopular causes, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has now secured a prominent place.

Like Mitch McConnell pushing for more money in politics, Cruz has also found a niche as an election law troll.

On Monday, Cruz won a lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission that had gone all the way to the Supreme Court. The six conservative justices struck down a federal law that limited the amount of campaign funds candidates can use to repay loans to their campaign.

It wasn’t organic. Cruz had engineered the case during his 2018 campaign against Beto O’Rourke, when on the last day before the election he loaned himself $260,000—a clean $10,000 above the $250,000 repayment cap. The personal loan, coming at the tail end of what was at the time the most expensive Senate race in U.S. history, was entirely unnecessary.

Cruz then sued for the right to recoup that extra $10,000 with money raised more than 20 days after the election, arguing the law infringed on his First Amendment rights. And in its first campaign finance ruling since 2014, the Court agreed.

While Cruz personally didn’t have much on the line, it was a huge win for conservative critics of campaign finance regulation, who have for years sought to shred restrictions imposed after the bipartisan passage of 2002’s McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act.

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But reform advocates, like Campaign Legal Center vice president and legal director Adav Noti, roasted it as an affront to democracy and a “mockery” of law.

“The Supreme Court’s decision in the Cruz case is a victory for rich people and corporations who want to buy influence over elected officials. By letting big donors repay politicians’ personal loans, the Supreme Court has again sided with special interest money over the voters’ right to a fair and transparent campaign system,” Noti told The Daily Beast.


© The Daily Beast

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