U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear Colorado Campaign Finance Case - State and Federal Communications

October 14, 2016  •  

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear Colorado Campaign Finance Case

Flag_of_ColoradoThe U.S. Supreme Court recently denied the state of Colorado’s petition for review of a 2016 federal appeals court ruling regarding state campaign finance rules.

In Coalition for Secular Government v. Williams, the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit affirmed a lower court’s ruling declaring the state’s issue committee regulatory framework unconstitutional as applied to the plaintiff, but declined to address the facial validity of the Colorado Constitution’s $200 threshold for issue committee reporting. The strength of the public’s interest in issue committee disclosure depends, in part, on how much money the issue committee has raised or spent.

The appeals court agreed with the 9th Circuit’s characterization of the sliding scale by noting “. . . the value of this financial information to the voters declines drastically as the value of the expenditure or contribution sinks to a negligible level. As the monetary value of an expenditure in support of a ballot issue approaches zero, financial sponsorship fades into support and then into mere sympathy” [Appellate Case: 14-1469; see Canyon Ferry Rd. Baptist Church of E. Helena, Inc. v. Unsworth, 556 F.3d 1021, 1033 (9th Cir. 2009)].

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