Federal Court Enjoins Delaware Reporting Requirement - State and Federal Communications

April 1, 2014  •  

Federal Court Enjoins Delaware Reporting Requirement

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The United States District Court for the District of Delaware granted a preliminary injunction sought by Delaware Strong Families, who challenged a new Delaware campaign finance law requiring sponsors of third-party advertisements to disclose the identities of their donors.

Specifically, Section 8031 of the Delaware Election Disclosures Act, which became effective January 1, 2012, requires any person who makes an expenditure for a third-party advertisement exceeding $500 during an election period to file a report with the Elections Commission, including the names and addresses of each person who has made contributions to the sponsor of the third-party advertisements exceeding $100.

Delaware Strong Families alleged such donor disclosure requirement was overbroad and therefore unconstitutional. The District Court agreed and enjoined further enforcement of this reporting requirement, noting that the Act is so broadly worded as to include virtually every communication made during an election period, no matter how indirect and unrelated it is to the electoral process.


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