Last Friday afternoon, a federal court in Houston issued an injunction prohibiting the City from enforcing section 18-35(a) of the code of ordinances, which for more than twenty years has forced candidates to wait until February of the election year to begin raising funds. The court sided with Plaintiff Trebor Gordon, recognizing that Gordon is likely to win the lawsuit on the merits, because the fundraising blackout period is a serious infringement of Gordon's First Amendment rights that the government could not justify.
Gordon is a conservative candidate for Houston City Council at large in the November 2015 elections.
With the injunction in place, City candidates are now free to immediately begin fundraising, and the City has indicated that it will not appeal the injunction order. Before this injunction, candidates were prohibited from fundraising for a full ten months of every two-year cycle, and had only nine months to raise funds before Election Day.
"It's a great victory for the First Amendment," said Jerad Najvar, the attorney for Gordon, who plans to begin raising funds immediately. "It's a bigger matter than just this campaign."
SEE COVERAGE IN THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE HERE
SEE THE COURT'S ORDER HERE
This marks Najvar Law Firm's third major campaign finance victory in the last nine months, following the Supreme Court's McCutcheon decision in April and the Fifth Circuit's August ruling in Catholic Leadership v. Reisman.
The case is Gordon v. City of Houston, No. 14-CV-3146, currently pending in federal court in the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. A scheduling conference is set for January 16 to determine the next steps in the case.
Jerad Najvar practices political and appellate law and is founder of the Najvar Law Firm in Houston. He served as co-counsel to plaintiff Shaun McCutcheon in McCutcheon v. FEC, a successful challenge to federal aggregate contribution limits decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
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