violate the District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act of 1973 (the "Home Rule Charter"). That provision, set forth at D.C. Code § 1-204 (1981), provides that all District of Columbia statutes must be consistent with the United States Constitution.
C. The Parties
There are five individual and four organizational plaintiffs. John Harvey, Ron Magnus, and Vincent Orange are suing as both contributors and candidates for public office. In 1994, Harvey ran for Council Member At-Large and Magnus ran for Ward 5 Council Member. Orange ran for Council Chair in 1990 and 1993 and for Ward 5 Council Member in 1994. Ronald E. Hampton is suing as a contributor and as the Executive Director of the National Black Police Association. Katherine S. Broderick is suing as a contributor and voter. The Libertarian Party and the District of Columbia Chapter of the Republican National African American Council ("DC-RNAC") are both suing as political organizations interested in controlling the terms of party primary elections without the interference of governmentally imposed contribution caps. These two organizations, along with the National Black Police Association and the American Civil Liberties Union of the National Capital Area, are also suing on behalf of their members who vote, run for office, and contribute to political campaigns in the District of Columbia.
The defendants are the District of Columbia and the District's Board of Elections and Ethics. The latter is responsible for the implementation and enforcement of Initiative 41.
Three other organizations had moved to intervene as defendants, but the Court denied their motions and allowed them to participate as amici. These are Common Cause, Common Cause/District of Columbia, and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, Inc. ("ACORN").
D. Procedural History
After denying the plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order, the Court heard argument on the plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunctive relief on July 21, 1994. The resulting opinion denying the motion is published at National Black Police Association v. District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics, 858 F. Supp. 251 (D.D.C. 1994).
In that opinion, the Court made an initial assessment of the merits of the plaintiffs' claims and balanced them against the other injunctive factors set forth in WMATA v. Holiday Tours, 182 U.S. App. D.C. 220, 559 F.2d 841, 844 (D.C. Cir. 1977). The Court did not dispose entirely of any of the plaintiffs' claims, but did find that the likelihood of success was not clear enough to warrant preliminary injunctive relief. For example, the Court noted that the caps imposed by Initiative 41 seemed quite restrictive, but decided that it could not determine with certainty whether the caps were so low that they stifled candidates' ability to spend money on their campaigns. 858 F. Supp. at 258. Similarly, the Court stated that it did not have enough information to weigh the governmental interest in limiting contributions or to assess the appropriateness of the caps in serving that interest. 858 F. Supp. at 259. The Court also declined to assess the plaintiff's claims regarding voters' right to receive information and political parties' right to set their own contribution caps for party primaries. Id. Finally, the Court rejected the plaintiff's Equal Protection Arguments, at least "at that stage," because the plaintiffs had shown no invidious discrimination or discriminatory intent. Id. at 261-62 and n. 24.
In February 1996, the Court heard evidence in a bench trial lasting five days. The parties and amici then submitted further briefs and returned for final argument. The following opinion is based upon the Court's consideration of the evidence presented at trial and the various arguments advanced by the parties and amici in their papers and in court.
II. FIRST AMENDMENT CLAIMS: FREEDOM OF SPEECH
A. Legal Standard
The Court must evaluate the plaintiffs' First Amendment claims in light of Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 46 L. Ed. 2d 659, 96 S. Ct. 612 (1976). In that case, the Supreme Court considered the constitutionality of various provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 ("FECA"), including a cap on campaign contributions.
The Buckley Court decided that contribution caps can burden First Amendment rights, but pointed out that such limits are not as constitutionally suspect as expenditure caps. It explained that the latter
necessarily reduce the quantity of expression by restricting the number of issues discussed, the depth of their exploration, and the size of the audience reached. This is because virtually every means of communicating ideas in today's mass society requires the expenditure of money.