Federal Appeals Court Rejects Maryland Online Political Ad Law - State and Federal Communications

December 11, 2019  •  

Federal Appeals Court Rejects Maryland Online Political Ad Law

Maryland Capitol Building - Jimmy Emerson

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a Maryland law aimed at extending the state’s campaign finance oversight into online political ads to prevent foreign interference in local elections is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment.

The Online Electioneering Transparency and Accountability Act, passed by state legislators in 2018, requires newspapers and other media platforms to collect and self-publish information about sponsors of online political ads.

The three-judge panel found that the law targets political expression and compels certain speech, and affirmed a lower court’s ruling to strike down the law.

The state’s attorney general’s office will review the decision and decide whether to file an appeal.

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