Kentucky Independent Political Group Ordered to Stop Political Attack Ads - State and Federal Communications

October 19, 2011  •  

Kentucky Independent Political Group Ordered to Stop Political Attack Ads

Attack AdsFranklin County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate issued a restraining order against an independent political group running political ads against Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear on Monday, October 17. The order prohibits the attack ads paid for by the group Restoring America from running on television and radio stations.

In his order, Judge Wingate called the ads “an illegal attempt” to influence the outcome of Kentucky’s 2011 gubernatorial election due to a failure by Restoring America to properly report the source of contributions funding the ads as required under Kentucky law. Restoring America had reported a solitary contribution from Restoring America, Inc. of more than $1.3 million to run the ads, but the judge ruled the use of the additional entity was simply masking the identities of individual donors.

Judge Wingate’s order, thought to be the first such order to halt political advertising by a third party in the state, was quickly met with opposition by First Amendment rights activists who have argued it is no more than a state-level assault on the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case.

Restoring America did file an initial appeal on Tuesday, October 18, but that appeal was rejected due to a technical deficiency. Another appeal is expected.

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