New Hampshire bill contradicts Supreme Court’s campaign finance ruling

The Center for Competitive Politics sent a letter to New Hampshire lawmakers Tuesday warning that a campaign finance bill under consideration directly contradicts a recent Supreme Court ruling.

House Bill 1367, which has passed the state House and is under consideration in the state Senate’s Election Law and Veterans’ Affairs Committee, would require business organizations and labor unions to establish political committees before engaging in political speech.

“The Supreme Court has spoken on this issue,” said Center for Competitive Politics President Sean Parnell. “If the New Hampshire legislature passes this bill, they would be wasting taxpayer dollars in a futile effort to limit the political speech of small businesses and labor unions. In effect, they would be begging for a lawsuit.”

In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court explicitly held that political committees did not provide sufficient means for organizations to speak effectively about candidates and issues.

“Even if a PAC could somehow allow a corporation to speak-and it does not-the option to form PACs does not alleviate the First Amendment problems with §441b. PACs are burdensome alternatives; they are expensive to administer and subject to extensive regulations…PACs, furthermore, must exist before they can speak. Given the onerous restrictions, a corporation may not be able to establish a PAC in time to make its views known regarding candidates and issues in a current campaign.” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote [emphasis added].

The Center for Competitive Politics is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization focused on promoting and protecting First Amendment political rights.

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.