A federal district judge reluctantly overturned New York's $150,000 limit on donations to super PACs yesterday. Individuals can now give unlimited amounts to the independent-expenditure groups, which are not allowed to directly coordinate with a candidate. U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty said that the donation limit violated the First Amendment, based on the Supreme Court's recent decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Elections Commission, which reinforced its Citizens United ruling. Additionally, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled the state limit was probably unconstitutional.
The suit was brought by supporters of Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota during the race last year, who had won the temporary right to make unlimited contributions for the election, over Judge Crotty's opposition. Good government groups say the limit has been ignored in practice for some time now.
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