Federal Judge Requests Campaign Finance Clarification from Colorado Supreme Court - State and Federal Communications

October 3, 2012  •  

Federal Judge Requests Campaign Finance Clarification from Colorado Supreme Court

Colorado CourtsA federal judge has issued an order to the state supreme court seeking clarification of the state’s campaign finance laws. The order arises from a suit filed against the secretary of state by the Coalition for Secular Government (CSG), alleging that certain provisions of the Fair Campaign Practices Act are invalid under the First Amendment. CSG plans to raise funds that will go toward updating and disseminating a policy paper that may address ballot issues, activities that may require it to register as an issue committee and disclose its donors under Colorado law.

The judge requested the Colorado Supreme Court to clarify:

  • Whether the position paper expressly advocates for a ballot issue or question such that it falls within the definition of expenditure in the Colorado Constitution;
  • If it does qualify as a ballot issue expenditure, is it eligible for the exemptions allowed for news items, editorials, and other similar writings;
  • Whether the policy paper is a “written or broadcast communication” that would categorize CSG as an issue committee, and if not, did it become one when CSG posted the paper to its blog or Facebook page; and
  • What the monetary threshold is that would require an issue committee to register.
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