August 6, 2014 •
Mississippi Appeals Lower Court’s Campaign Finance Ruling
The state of Mississippi is challenging a lower court ruling affecting its campaign finance laws. In September, 2013, U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock ruled the state’s campaign finance registration and reporting requirements unconstitutional for people or groups spending money to support or oppose a ballot initiative.
Under Mississippi law, groups seeking to support or oppose statewide ballot issues must register as political committees if receiving or making expenditures in excess of $200 during a calendar year. Moreover, campaign finance reports must include the name and address of any person donating more than $200 to a ballot issue committee.
The state argues the disclosure requirement provides transparency and is, therefore, substantially related to a sufficiently important government interest. Others claim the extensive and confusing regulations regarding political committees impose an undue burden and chill First Amendment speech.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit will hear the case September 3.
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