IRVINE — The Lincoln Club of Orange County, long a bastion of wealthy Republican donors to state and federal candidates, has targeted a handful of cities that block its ability to influence nonpartisan local elections.
The club filed a lawsuit this week against the city of Irvine, alleging that barring the club from spending money in local races is an unconstitutional restraint on free speech.
A city law prohibits any association with dues greater than $320 a year from launching campaigns to support or oppose candidates and ballot measures. The Lincoln Club assesses its 300 members annual fees, which will be $2,000 each starting in January.
Other lawsuits will be filed in coming months challenging similar laws in Huntington Beach, Anaheim and Orange, said Lincoln Club President Michael D. Capaldi, a lawyer in Newport Beach.