Bank trade groups can make campaign contributions after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit ruled that a state law the ban on banks providing financial support to candidates does not apply to trade groups.
“Trade associations are less likely to pose a risk of quid pro quo corruption because their member banks have different interests, while individual banks have the same interests,” the three-judge panel found.
But the New Jersey Bankers Association, which seeks to make independent expenditures and contributions, was not allowed to challenge the law on behalf of private banks.
The appeals court rejected a request to declare the New Jersey law unconstitutional under the First Amendment.
Because we can decide the case on the statutory grounds, namely, construing the statute as inapplicable to bank trade associations, we decline to address the First Amendment issues, Justice Joseph Greenway said in an opinion. “In doing so, we nevertheless provide full assistance.”
The original law was signed more than 110 years ago by Governor Woodrow Wilson.