Missouri Electric Cooperatives et al v. State of Missouri et al
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING MOVANT TODD JONES'S MOTION TO INTERVENE, 32 . Signed on 2/6/17 by District Judge Ortrie D. Smith. (Matthes Mitra, Renea)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
MISSOURI ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES,
d/b/a Association of Missouri Electric
Cooperatives, et al.,
STATE OF MISSOURI, et al.,
Case No. 17-04006-CV-C-ODS
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING MOVANT TODD JONES’S MOTION TO
Pending is Movant Todd Jones’s (“Jones”) Motion to Intervene. Doc. #32. Jones
invokes a right to intervene under Rule 24(a) and, alternatively, asks for permission to
intervene pursuant to Rule 24(b). For the reasons below, Jones’s motion is denied.
Plaintiffs challenge the constitutionality of Initiative Petition 2016-007, which was
adopted by Missouri voters on November 8, 2016 and added to Article VIII of the
Missouri Constitution as Section 23. Section 23 regulates certain political campaign
contributions among and to various covered entities. Defendants State of Missouri, the
Missouri Ethics Commission, and its Commissioners are charged with implementing
and enforcing Section 23.
Jones seeks to intervene on behalf of Defendants. He is “an individual, tax payer
and contributes to various political campaigns and as such is subject to campaign
finance laws, regulations and disclosures” and “an unelected citizen of the State of
Missouri.” Doc. #33, at 2. Jones “makes campaign contributions which are reported to
the Missouri Ethics Commission and the outcome of this litigation will effective[ly] dilute
his campaign contributions.” Id., at 4. Jones states, “[i]f this Court strikes down Article
VIII Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution and certain entities are empowered to make
unlimited campaign contributions it will have the effect of diluting [Jones’s] campaign
contributions.” Id., at 2. Jones argues his interests are not adequately represented
absent his intervention in this matter because “[Defendants] must represent the
interests of all Missouri citizens, including those that seek to make unlimited campaign
A. Intervention of Right
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2) bestows a right to intervene on any
party who “claims an interest related to...the subject of the action and is so situated that
disposing of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede the movant’s ability
to protect its interest, unless existing parties adequately represent that interest.” In
addition to meeting these requirements, a would-be intervenor must demonstrate it has
standing under Article III of the Constitution. E.g., United States v. Metro. St. Louis
Sewer Dist., 569 F.3d 829, 833-34 (8th Cir. 2009).
To demonstrate standing, a proposed intervenor must show: (1) injury-in-fact, (2)
causation, and (3) redressability. Lujan v. Defs. of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560-61
(1992). In particular, the injury must be “an invasion of a legally protected interest that
is concrete, particularized, and either actual or imminent.” Curry v. Regents of the Univ.
of Minn., 167 F.3d 420, 422 (8th Cir. 1999). The alleged injury must also be “fairly
traceable to the defendant's conduct” and capable of being remedied by a favorable
decision. Metro. St. Louis Sewer Dist., 569 F.3d at 834.
Jones alleges an injury because, without Section 23, his ability to make
meaningful political campaign donations will be diluted by large donations Plaintiffs wish
to make. Jones’s interest in meaningful campaign contributions and preventing dilution
of his contributions is not a legally protected interest sufficient to establish injury-in-fact.
See Shrink Mo. Gov’t PAC v. Maupin, 922 F. Supp. 1413, 1420 (E.D. Mo. 1996) (citing
Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 48-49 (1976)) (“The State’s governmental interest in
providing a ‘level playing field’ was clearly rejected as a ‘compelling state interest’ by the
Buckley Court.”).1 Jones argues Plaintiffs cite their ability to make contributions to
establish Article III standing, but his injury is unlike the injuries alleged by Plaintiffs.
Plaintiffs allege Section 23 prevents the type of donations they wish to make. Unlike
Plaintiffs, Jones wishes to continue to make his small-dollar campaign contributions, but
Section 23 does not prevent him from doing so. Jones’s alleged injury is insufficient to
establish he has standing to intervene.
Moreover, Jones’s injury is not particularized. Jones argues his injury is not one
suffered by all Missouri voters because not all Missouri voters make political campaign
contributions. Therefore, Jones argues, he is representative of a unique class of voters
who voted to pass the ballot initiative and make campaign contributions. Despite his
effort to characterize this alleged injury as particularized, Jones’s complaint is one
shared by all who voted for the ballot initiative. This generalized grievance shared in
common by all voters is insufficient to establish standing. See Nolles v. State Comm.
for Reorganziation of Sch. Dists., 524 F.3d 892, 900 (8th Cir. 2008). Jones has not
established he has standing to intervene.
2. Intervention of Right
Were the Court to find Jones has standing to intervene, he has not satisfied Rule
24(a)(2)’s requirements to intervene. “[A] putative intervenor must establish that it: (1)
has a recognized interest in the subject matter of the litigation that (2) might be impaired
by the disposition of the case and that (3) will not be adequately protected by the
existing parties.” N. Dakota ex rel. Stenehjem v. United States, 787 F.3d 918, 921 (8th
Cir. 2015) (citation omitted). “[I]f an existing party to the suit is charged with the
responsibility of representing the intervenor’s interests, a presumption of adequate
representation arises.” Chiglo v. City of Preston, 104 F.3d 185, 187 (8th Cir. 1997).
“[T]he burden is greater if the named party is a government entity that represents
interests common to the public.” Little Rock Sch. Dist. v. N. Little Rock Sch. Dist., 378
Jones also asserts he has a legally protected interest sufficient to establish standing
because Section 23’s “purpose is to address excessive campaign contributions that
create a potential for corruption and appearance of corruption and that allows wealthy
corporations to exercise a disproportionate level of influence over the political process.”
Doc. #46, at 2. Jones cites no case law supporting this position.
F.3d 774, 780 (8th Cir. 2004) (citing Curry, 167 F.3d at 423 (describing parens
patriae doctrine)). “We presume that the government entity adequately represents the
public, and we require the party seeking to intervene to make a strong showing of
inadequate representation; for example, it may show that its interests are distinct and
cannot be subsumed within the public interest represented by the government
entity.” Id. “A difference of opinion concerning litigation strategy or individual aspects of
a remedy does not overcome the presumption of adequate representation.” Jenkins ex
rel. Jenkins v. State of Mo., 78 F.3d 1270, 1275 (8th Cir. 1996) (citation omitted).
Jones has not demonstrated his interests are inadequately represented by
Defendants. Defendants are charged with implementing and enforcing Section 23.
Jones argues Defendants do not have a personal stake in enforcing the law and do not
make political contributions. The Court notes Defendants oppose Plaintiffs’ motion for a
preliminary injunction and continue to litigate this matter consistent with its role in
implementing and enforcing Section 23. Even if Jones established standing, he has not
persuaded this Court that his interests are not adequately represented by Defendants.
According, the Court denies Jones’s motion to intervene on this ground.
B. Permissive Intervention
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(b)(1)(B) allows a court discretion to permit
intervention to anyone who “has a claim or defense that shares with the main action a
common question of law or fact.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(b)(1)(B). “While Rule 24 promotes
judicial economy by facilitating, where constitutionally permissible, the participation of
interested parties in others’ lawsuits, the fact remains that a federal case is a limited
affair, and not everyone with an opinion is invited to attend.” Mausolf v. Babbitt, 85 F.3d
1295, 1301 (8th Cir. 1996). As discussed above, Jones has not established his
intervention is constitutionally permissible because he cannot establish standing.
Moreover, the Court believes Defendants are adequately representing, and will continue
to do so, Jones’s interests as a Missouri voter, tax payer, and contributor to political
campaigns. Given this, the Court exercises its discretion to deny Jones’s motion to
For the above reasons, Jones’s motion to intervene (Doc. #32) is denied.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
/s/ Ortrie D. Smith
ORTRIE D. SMITH, SENIOR JUDGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DATE: February 6, 2017
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