Charleston, W.Va. – West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant released the following statement upon the proposed settlement of the “Stay The Course” case, which has been pending in federal court since May 23, 2012.
“Upon consultation with attorneys from the Secretary of State’s Office and Attorney General’s Office I have come to the conclusion that it is in the best interest of West Virginia taxpayers to cease contesting this lawsuit,” Secretary Tennant said.
The lawsuit challenged the constitutionality of West Virginia’s restriction on the amount that could be contributed by an individual or a corporation to a political action committee which solely makes independent expenditures. A temporary injunction has been in place since August 9, 2012. The state will be responsible for attorney fees of the plaintiffs accumulated thus far.
“The ruling follows the holding of the United States Supreme Court in ‘Citizens United’ and is in line with other federal court rulings in the Fourth Circuit and other Circuits. To continue to press what is an unwinnable position will do nothing but run up the tab for which the state will be responsible and which will not result in the overturning of ‘Citizens United.’
“The Supreme Court has ruled that unlimited contributions to independent committees do not corrupt our elections. I strongly disagree. However, it is still the law of the land.
“I have a duty to be a good steward of taxpayer money. Another of my duties is to make sure that West Virginians have access to open, fair, and honest elections. There has been no Secretary of State in West Virginia who has taken more seriously their role as Chief Elections Officer; my record of investigating and securing federal convictions of those who tried to manipulate our democracy speaks for itself. While the decision has been made to end this fight the voters and candidates in West Virginia can rest assured that I am still fighting to protect our elections and will investigate any and all allegations of election law violation.”
Click here to read the executed consent judgment.