August 20, 2010 •
Federal District Court Issues Ruling in Maine Campaign Finance Lawsuit
The suit filed by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) alleged Maine’s laws governing political action committee definitions, independent campaign expenditures, and attribution and disclaimer requirements were unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. The plaintiffs also raised a First Amendment challenge alleging Maine’s regulations imposed excessive burdens which would only serve to chill its political speech.
Judge Hornby did agree with some of the plaintiff’s allegations and proceeded to strike down Maine’s rules requiring 24-hour disclosure of independent expenditures over $250 as “impermissibly burdensome”. As well, state law’s use of the words “influence” and “influence in any way” were struck down as being unconstitutionally vague.
Judge Hornby went on to uphold the bulk of Maine’s campaign finance laws concluding:
“Otherwise, Maine’s laws governing PACs, independent campaign expenditures, and attribution and disclaimer requirements are constitutional, and survive NOM’s challenges they are unconstitutionally vague and overbroad and they impose excessive burdens that chill NOM’s speech preceding this fall’s elections and thereafter.”
The plaintiffs are expected to pursue an expedited appeal to the U.S. First Circuit located in Boston.
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