Court of Appeals to Hear Arguments on Maryland Political Ads Law - State and Federal Communications

October 28, 2019  •  

Court of Appeals to Hear Arguments on Maryland Political Ads Law

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear arguments on Wednesday in a case focused on Maryland’s Online Electioneering and Transparency Act.

Maryland legislators passed the act in order to prevent foreign interference in local elections.

However, the sweeping scope has sparked a First Amendment outcry from multiple newspapers, including The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun.

The newspapers and the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association argue in a lawsuit that the act violates the First Amendment because it requires collecting and self-publishing information about sponsors of online political ads.

The act also requires retaining records of the ads for inspection by the state Board of Elections.

The bill became law without the signature of Gov. Larry Hogan, who commended the law’s goals, but had concerns about the constitutionality.

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