Arizona Definition of Political Committee Found Unconstitutional - State and Federal Communications

December 9, 2014  •  

Arizona Definition of Political Committee Found Unconstitutional

Arizona with FlagOn December 5, a federal judge declared Arizona’s definition of political committee “vague, overbroad, and consequently unconstitutional in violation of the First Amendment.” In Galassini v. Town of Fountain Hills, Senior District Judge James A. Teilborg of the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, relied on his prior determination finding A.R.S. §16-901(19) unconstitutional.

In 2011, Gina Galassini emailed 23 friends and neighbors to organize a rally opposing a bond proposal in the town of Fountain Hills. The town clerk informed Galassini her planned rally would require she “file a statement of organization before accepting contributions, making expenditures, distributing literature or circulating petitions.” However, Galassini was still able to hold her rally without registering after the District Court issued a preliminary injunction and the Town of Fountain Hills agreed to not enforce the campaign finance laws.

Friday’s decision granting declaratory relief to the plaintiff did not provide any future injunctive relief. According to the Arizona Daily Star, Deputy Secretary of State Jim Drake said his office will ask the Court to delay the effect of the ruling while an appeal is considered.

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