Regulating Political Contributions by State Contractors: The First Amendment and State Pay-to-Play Legislation

Date
2008
Authors
Reed, Melanie D.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
William Mitchell Law Review
Abstract

In this article, Professor Reed discusses recent legislation aimed at eliminating so-called “pay-to-play” between state contractors and state political candidates. The article begins by providing a high-level overview of the types of law state legislatures have passed, focusing on six states with generally applicable pay-to-play laws: Connecticut, Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, and West Virginia. The article then discusses the First Amendment issues raised by these state laws. Finally, it concludes that states passing pay-to-play laws should tailor the reach of such laws to focus on those contributors and recipients closely related to state contractors. States also can build additional safeguards into pay-to-play legislation by requiring open and competitive bidding of state contracts or by prohibiting earmarked contributions.

Description
Keywords
Pay-to-play laws, First Amendment
Citation
34 Wm. Mitchell L. Rev. 635