Cheyenne, WY – Pillar of Law Institute attorneys filed for preliminary injunctive relief today in Pillar of Law Institute & Two Unnamed Plaintiffs v. FEC. Pillar asks the court to allow delegates to the Republican National Convention to be able to participate in its delegate autonomy project. In its brief, Pillar argues that federal election law unconstitutionally prohibits non-profits from providing free books, pro bono legal services, or travel stipends to delegates.

“Unlike most federal election law, delegates are free to receive as much money as they’d like from individuals but they cannot accept a penny of support from non-profit groups like Pillar,” said Benjamin Barr, lead counsel in the case. “Only in Alice in Wonderland can these laws make sense. Non-profits should be able to provide educational assistance and travel stipends to make political participation more accessible without federal law interfering.”

The Pillar of Law Institute is a non-profit public interest law firm that is prohibited under federal law from donating items like books, travel stipends, or pro bono legal aid to delegates. Two unnamed Republican delegates join the suit because they wish to speak out about delegate autonomy at the convention and would like to associate with Pillar in doing so. Pillar alleges that this broad ban is unsupportable under the First Amendment.

“In one of our nation’s most acrimonious and contested election seasons, it is unthinkable to criminalize Americans who just want to associate to promote shared political ideals,” said Barr. “But this is what federal election law does by imposing an unreasonable barrier. In America, everyone gets to participate and have their say—not just those permitted by the government. We expect this law to be stricken so that citizens can once again embrace this fundamental truth.”

The Federal Election Commission will have until June 17, 2016 to respond to Pillar’s request.

The Pillar of Law Institute is a non-profit public interest law firm located in Washington, DC, focusing on political free speech, particularly as it relates to campaign finance law.


Benjamin Barr