Court reviews contractor political donations

AP News
Posted: Sep 30, 2014 4:10 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A panel of 11 appeals court judges seems reluctant to overturn a ban on contractors donating money to federal elections, a prohibition that has been on the books for 70 years.

The judges heard arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit by a lawyer and two federal retirees who want to topple the ban, which carries a five-year prison term for violations.

The ban does not apply to the political action committees of corporate contractors, nor does it apply to a corporation's officers and shareholders — all of whom are able to donate to federal elections.

The challengers filing the lawsuit say the different treatment violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution because similarly situated groups of people are not subject to the ban.