July 20, 2011 •
Court strikes down electioneering communications law
Judge Thomas Johnston of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia has struck down key provisions of campaign finance law pertaining to electioneering communications.
In a suit filed by West Virginians for Life and the Center for Individual Freedom, the court held that while the state of West Virginia could regulate advertisements that “can have no other reasonable meaning than to urge the election or defeat of one or more clearly identified candidates,” the state could not require financial disclosures from third party groups creating advertisements that are merely “susceptible” to the interpretation that they are an appeal for or against a specific candidate.
Further, the court struck down the extension of electioneering communication regulations to print media while upholding the applicability of such regulations to broadcast media.