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A suit filed this week in Washington federal district court against the Federal Election Commission challenges the constitutionality of the ban on political contributions and independent expenditures from foreign nationals who lawfully live and work in the United States. The challenged regulations prohibit any foreign national other than a permanent resident from making a contribution to a local, state or federal candidate. The provision in dispute was enacted by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002. “We think it’s a fairly straight forward case under settled First Amendment and campaign finance doctrine,” said Jones Day associate Warren Postman of Washington, D.C., who practices in appellate and complex litigation. The two plaintiffs, Benjamin Bluman and Dr. Asenath Steiman, live in New York City. Bluman, a citizen of Canada who recently graduated from Harvard Law School, is authorized to live and work in the United States until November 2012. Bluman, who anticipates his admission into the New York City bar next month, is “passionate … about protecting the environment, recognizing same-sex marriage and ensuring that ‘net neutrality’ is enshrined into law,” according to the suit. The suit said Bluman wants to contribute $100 to Diane Savino, a Democratic state senator in New York who is a proponent of same-sex marriage. Bluman also wants to print and distribute flyers in the support of the re-election of President Barack Obama. Steiman, a member of the American Medical Association, is a dual citizen of Canada and Israel. She is fulfilling her medical residency at Beth Israel Medical Center, in New York. Steiman was a member of the Conservative Party in Canada. The suit filed against the FEC said Steiman wants to prevent a “government-takeover of the health-care system in the United States.” According to the suit, Steiman wants to contribute $100 to Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, a critic of the Obama administration’s push for healthcare reform. And Steiman also wants to contribute to the campaign of the Republican nominee to challenge Obama, in the event he runs for a second term.

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