August 20, 2014 •
Citizens United Files Suit Against Colorado Secretary of State
On August 14, Citizens United filed suit in federal court against Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler. The lawsuit is a response to Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert’s June decision classifying the group’s upcoming documentary as a reportable electioneering communication.
Citizens United had hoped the documentary would be excluded from the definition of reportable electioneering communication under a general press-entity exemption. Although the Federal Election Commission applies such an exemption for Citizens United at the federal level, the secretary of state lacked the authority to import the FEC’s analysis and decision.
Citizens United is now asking the court to permanently enjoin enforcement of applicable reporting and disclosure requirements in their entirety or, in the alternative, enjoin enforcement of the requirements as applied to Citizens United. The group argues its right to engage in political speech is significantly burdened while the rights of print media and broadcast facilities are not. Moreover, the group claims the reporting and disclosure requirements discriminate based on a speaker’s identity and, therefore, violate both the U.S. and Colorado constitutions.
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