U.S. Supreme Court denies petition, won’t review lower court’s ruling favoring Graves Garrett clients

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for writ of certiorari this week in Missouri Ethics Commission, et al. v. Free and Fair Election Fund, et al., ending two years of federal litigation related to Missouri’s Amendment 2 — a sweeping overhaul of campaign finance restrictions.

Graves Garrett partner Eddie Greim argued on behalf of the Free and Fair Election Fund and five others in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, which upheld a ruling from the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, where Greim tried the case. Both courts held parts of Amendment 2 were unconstitutional.

The U.S. Supreme Court called for a response to the Missouri Ethics Commission’s petition for certiorari, but ultimately decided it will not review the Eight Circuit’s decision.

Free and Fair Election Fund sued the Missouri Ethics Commission for a declaration that parts of Amendment 2 — Missouri’s 2016 campaign finance reform— were unconstitutional. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court’s order permanently enjoining enforcement of a provision of the Missouri Constitution, which prohibits a political action committee (PAC) from receiving contributions from other political action committees. The court ruled that this action unconstitutionally infringed PACs’ First Amendment rights to freedom of speech.

The ruling held that the amendment violated the First Amendment as applied to PACs, and that the state of Missouri did not have an obligation to prevent these types of contributions.

Greim has built a notable free speech and election law practice at Graves Garrett, and he handles work across the country related to unique political issues. His experience has included numerous constitutional challenges to election and campaign finance laws; representation of clients in state and federal ethics and campaign finance enforcement actions and investigations; initiative petition drafting and litigation; litigation and advice regarding First Amendment protections for petition circulation; representation of not-for-profit clients before state regulators; and advice on campaign and election law compliance.