U.S. District Court Judge Enjoins Florida Law that Prohibited Political Contributions from Minors Greater than $100

On August 7, U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen M. Williams, an Obama appointee, enjoined enforcement of a Florida law that makes it a crime for anyone under the age of 18 to contribute more than $100 to a candidate or a political party, or any other political committee that supports candidates. Here is the opinion in Towbin v Antonacci, southern district, 12-80069.

The plaintiff, Julie Towbin, is a 17-year-old former congressional page. She wanted to buy a ticket to a Democratic Party event, but the price of the ticket was $150. Election officials warned her that she would be prosecuted if she bought the ticket, so she missed the event, but the ACLU represented her, and now the restriction cannot be enforced, and will probably soon be held unconstitutional. The state law only covered contributions for state and local office; states don’t have the power to write campaign finance laws for federal office.

The state argued that the case should be dismissed because the plaintiff will soon be 18, and the state also argued that since she didn’t actually buy the ticket, she doesn’t have standing. The judge rejected those arguments. According to the decision, other states that have lower contribution limits for minors than for adults are Connecticut, Kentucky, and Massachusetts. Thanks to Political Activity Law for the link.

4 comments

  1. Baronscarpia · · Reply

    Richard –

    Can you clarify something about this law? Are corporations limited to $100 if they were incorporated less than 18 years ago?

    Thanks.

  2. Richard Winger · · Reply

    Under federal law, corporations can’t make contributions to candidates for congressional or presidential candidates, or to political parties. I presume Florida has the same restriction for state and local office, but I don’t know that for sure.

  3. Baronscarpia · · Reply

    3 –

    Oh…thank God!

    But on another topic…do you think “underage” corporations should be able to have sex…presuming both partners are consenting, of course?

  4. Richard Winger · · Reply

    #3, no, but I think political parties under the age of 18 should be permitted to do that.

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