December 9, 2010 •
Colorado Supreme Court to Make Decision in Regards to Campaign Finance
The Colorado Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case brought by Colorado Ethics Watch concerning the so-called “magic words” required of political ads. Colorado Ethics Watch filed the complaint against Senate Majority Fund and Colorado Leadership Fund after the two 527 political organizations ran campaign ads supporting state legislative candidates in the 2008 election but did not register as political committees or submit independent expenditure disclosures for the ads.
An Administrative Law Judge determined, and the Colorado Court of Appeals agreed, registration and reporting were not required because the ads did not contain terms such as “vote for” or “defeat.” It is expected the case will be briefed in early 2011, with oral arguments taking place in the spring.
Seal of the State of Colorado by Svgalbertian on Wikipedia.
November 15, 2010 •
Federal Appellate Court Finds Colorado Campaign Finance Limits on Small Groups Unconstitutional
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals determined Colorado’s voter-approved campaign reporting requirement for small groups promoting ballot initiatives to be unconstitutional. The case stems from a challenge by a group of homeowners who failed to register as an issue committee upon becoming a group of two or more persons and accepting or making contributions or expenditures in excess of $200. Six homeowners had raised and spent less than $1,000 fighting a ballot question concerning the annexation of their subdivision, Parker North, into the town of Parker, Colorado.
Plaintiff’s attorney Steve Simpson, a member of the Arlington, Virginia-based Institute for Justice, has stated this case is the first ruling in the nation wherein reporting requirements for issue committees have been linked to the First Amendment and deemed unconstitutional. Simpson also added the decision in this case signals a split with another appellate court, causing the case to be ripe for appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court.
You can read the full text of the opinion here.
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