Federal judge blocks parts of Missouri law meant to curb influence of money in politics

A federal judge has blocked portions of a constitutional amendment Missouri voters passed in November as a way to limit the influence of money in politics.

The $2,600 campaign contribution limit will remain in place, under the order of Judge Ortrie Smith of the U.S. District Court in Western Missouri.

However, Smith’s order blocks other portions of the new law, including a restriction against donations from foreign corporations and a provision that prohibited transfers between political action committees.

The Missouri Ethics Commission, which was represented by Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley’s office, argued that transfers between PACs provide a way to circumvent campaign contribution limits and raise the risk of corruption by making it hard to track the source of political donations. However, the judge found that the absolute prohibition on PAC to PAC transfers was unconstitutional.

A spokeswoman for Attorney General Josh Hawley, who was among candidates in the 2016 election receiving six-figure contributions, did not say whether the decision would be appealed.

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