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Federal Court reverses judgement, unanimously revives case against City of Houston seeking protection for non-residents to circulate petitions

·2 min read

Petition that sparked case called for campaign contribution limits

HOUSTON, Oct. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Fifth Circuit has ruled in favor of two brothers, finding that their suit against the City of Houston had been erroneously dismissed in 2019, attorney Jerad Najvar said Thursday. The suit demands that the City of Houston uphold the precedent set by the Supreme Court in 1999 in a Colorado case which protects the rights of non-residents and non-registered voters to circulate petitions.

Brothers Trey Pool, who resides in California, and Trent Pool, who resides in Austin, run Accelevate 2020, LLC, a consulting firm focused on ballot access and petitions. Over several years, their firm has collected more than a million signatures in 33 states including petitions for petitions for Presidential candidates like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein and Tulsi Gabbard as well as medical marijuana referenda and the creation of new political parties.

"We're gratified that the court reversed its judgement and has remanded further proceedings. The restrictions we are challenging are clearly unconstitutional. We look forward to ultimately prevailing and applaud the court on this ruling," Trent said.

The petition that inspired the lawsuit was an anti-corruption initiative seeking to put an ordinance on the Houston ballot which would impose a $500 limit on campaign contributions from city contractors and vendors to municipal candidates. Houston's current campaign finance laws allow individuals to give municipal candidates up to $5,000 every two years and committees up to $10,000 every two years.

"Despite disingenuous attempts to disclaim intent to enforce this provision after we filed suit, the City of Houston has been happy to weaponize this unconstitutional limit against petitions it dislikes. We will now seek a permanent judgment to ensure that this provision can never be enforced when it may be politically expedient, by this or any future city administration," Jerad Najvar, attorney for the Pool brothers said.

The case is Pool, et al. v. City of Houston, et al., No. 19-20828, in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and No. 4:19-CV-2236, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas at Houston.

READ THE OPINION HERE

Cision
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View original content:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/federal-court-reverses-judgement-unanimously-revives-case-against-city-of-houston-seeking-protection-for-non-residents-to-circulate-petitions-301163460.html

SOURCE Jerad Najvar