LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A federal judge has made his temporary injunction permanent in allowing Arkansas candidates for statewide office to accept campaign donations more than two years before an election.
U.S. District Judge James Moody Jr.’s move Tuesday reinforced his initial ruling that it’s unconstitutional for the state to bar contributions for state office hopefuls more than two years before an election.
In January, a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Moody’s decision to grant a preliminary injunction against the state’s “blackout period” for accepting campaign contributions.
Attorneys for Peggy Jones, the Pulaski County woman who sued over the restriction, have said the blackout period prevented her from exercising her First Amendment right to contribute money to candidates she wished to support in the 2022 election.
Moody’s decision to make his injunction permanent was welcomed by both the state and the plaintiff, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Thursday. It settled the debate over the constitutionality of a 1996 amendment to campaign finance laws intended to combat corruption.
“We’re pleased with the order, and we think it’s right on the law,” said attorney Christoph Keller, whose Little Rock law firm represented Jones. “We’re glad to see this resolved.”
The Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is “pleased” the judge’s ruling presented clarity for both candidates and their contributors, said spokeswoman Amanda Priest.