Documents: Kavanaugh saw 'some constitutional problems' in campaign contribution limits

Newly released documents reveal that when he was serving in the White House under President George W. Bush, ...

Posted: Sep 2, 2018 6:42 AM
Updated: Sep 2, 2018 6:42 AM

Newly released documents reveal that when he was serving in the White House under President George W. Bush, Brett Kavanaugh suggested that he thought candidate contribution limits have "some constitutional problems."

Contribution limits -- currently set at $2,700 per individual per election -- were upheld in a 1976 Supreme Court case called Buckley v. Valeo, and they have remained intact even as the court has subsequently struck down an array of other state and federal campaign finance regulations.

Brett Kavanaugh

Campaign finance

Constitutional law

Elections and campaigns

Government and public administration

Government organizations - US

Law and legal system

Political donations and fundraising

Political Figures - US

Politics

US Congress

US Senate

Kavanaugh's comments will raise questions during his confirmation hearings from Democrats who support campaign finance regulation. The release of the documents will also likely trigger complaints from critics of Kavanaugh, who argue that they need more time and more access to the thousands of pages of his emails held at the Bush library.

"Judge Kavanaugh's views on campaign finance are already pretty well-known," said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law. "But these emails suggest that he'd go farther in striking down these regulations than the court has to date. It's hard to imagine this not becoming a point of some contention at next week's confirmation hearing."

The documents, released Friday night before a three-day weekend, depict an email exchange between Kavanaugh and Helgard Walker, who also worked in the Bush White House.

"I have heard very few people say that the limits on contributions to candidates are unconstitutional, although I for one tend to think those limits have some constitutional problems," Kavanaugh wrote in a March 6, 2002, email.

"If he were to take that position as a Supreme Court justice he would be voting to overturn long-established precedent," said Fred Wertheimer, who supports campaign finance limits and is president of a nonprofit group called Democracy 21.

"The rationale for candidate contribution limits is that they prevent corruption -- if Kavanaugh were to oppose contribution limits, he would be willing to open the door to massive corruption of our elected officials," he said.

The documents had already been released to the Senate Judiciary Committee on a "Committee Confidential" basis. But committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, sent a letter to his colleagues last week telling them he would consider requests from members identifying confidential documents they wish to use during the hearings as long as the requests were "reasonable."

The documents in question were requested by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, according to a release from the Judiciary Committee.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 3967

Reported Deaths: 148
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah105258
Marion91425
Washington69817
Clackamas29610
Deschutes1200
Linn1159
Umatilla1123
Polk9610
Lane672
Yamhill667
Jackson600
Benton555
Clatsop450
Klamath410
Coos310
Malheur280
Josephine251
Douglas250
Jefferson240
Wasco181
Columbia160
Hood River120
Morrow120
Lincoln90
Tillamook60
Crook60
Curry60
Union60
Wallowa20
Sherman10
Grant10
Harney10
Baker10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 99387

Reported Deaths: 3819
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles478452145
Riverside7139303
San Diego6797249
Orange5578131
San Bernardino4567176
Alameda298693
Santa Clara2675139
San Francisco239940
San Mateo190482
Kern187629
Tulare177179
Santa Barbara155112
Fresno148222
Contra Costa135337
Imperial135224
Sacramento131056
Ventura91230
San Joaquin77133
Kings6882
Stanislaus65928
Sonoma5154
Solano45520
Monterey4298
Marin41714
Merced2687
San Luis Obispo2631
Santa Cruz2002
Yolo19822
Placer1889
Napa1093
Humboldt942
Madera852
El Dorado780
San Benito762
Sutter422
Nevada411
Butte400
Del Norte400
Shasta364
Mono341
Yuba281
Mendocino220
Inyo191
Mariposa161
Lake140
Calaveras140
Glenn120
Amador100
Siskiyou61
Colusa50
Plumas40
Lassen40
Tuolumne30
Tehama31
Alpine20
Trinity10
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 74°
Brookings
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 55°
Crater Lake
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 64°
Grants Pass
Scattered Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 73°
Klamath Falls
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 64°
Hot week, stormy weekend
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

Smoke expected through today

Image

Fighting fires during coronavirus

Image

Nate Bittle is gearing up for his senior year

Image

Search and rescue adjusts to a pandemic

Image

Tuesday, May 26th Evening Weather

Image

Search and Rescue teams adjust their jobs during the pandemic

Image

Anywhere Learning: Read-aloud - Sarah, Plain and Tall, Part 2

Image

Anywhere Learning: Mystery Adventure, Part 2

Image

Anywhere Learning: All About Family

Image

Anywhere Learning: Mystery Adventure, Part 1