- The Washington Times - Friday, August 29, 2014

A campaign-finance watchdog group filed a brief in federal court Friday to beat back an attempt by New York and Tennessee Republicans to stymie pay-to-play restrictions.

The Campaign Legal Center filed an amici brief in the New York Republican State Committee v. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lawsuit, urging the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to deny a preliminary injunction and dismiss the parties’ challenge to pay-to-play laws. The SEC rule bars investment firms from managing state assets for two years after a firm or its associates contributes an amount that could influence which firm is awarded an investment contract.

“SEC and state investigators have prosecuted a long and sad laundry list of quid pro quo corruption in the awarding of state investment contracts to major donors,” said Tara Malloy, Campaign Legal Center Senior Counsel, said in a statement released Friday. “Despite the claims of the state parties that the SEC cannot provide extensive evidence of quid pro quo arrangements between government officials and investment advisers, the record cites prosecutions in Connecticut, New Mexico, Illinois, Ohio, and Florida, as well as New York.”

The statement by The Campaign Legal Center references the case in which New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi was convicted of steering $250 million in pension funds to an investment firm in exchange for gifts and more than $500,000.

The Campaign Legal Center was joined by Democracy 21 in its amici brief.

State Republicans from Tennessee and New York argue that the SEC rule forces investment advisers to make “an impermissible choice” between “exercising a First Amendment right and retaining the ability to engage in professional activities,” wrote in their complaint, Bloomberg reported Aug. 7.

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