Colorado resident Diana Hsieh, a doctor of philosophy, organized the non-profit CSG together with her friend Ari Armstrong in order to promote a secular understanding of individual rights, including freedom of conscience and the separation of church and state. Because of unconstitutionally vague state laws, confusion as to what constitutes political speech and what is covered under a press exemption, and a refusal by the state to abide by a federal court order, Hsieh and CSG have found it nearly impossible to carry out the activities of a small non-profit group without fear of running afoul of complex Colorado campaign finance laws.
Dickerson and the CCP legal team filed a complaint alleging that, even though Diana and CSG plan to raise no more than $3,500, nearly all of which will go toward updating and disseminating an expanded and updated copy of their public policy paper, the state of Colorado appears to demand that CSG register as an issue committee, with all the paperwork burdens and restrictions that status entails. Dickerson notes that this is unconstitutional under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and burdensome, particularly for a small group seeking only to exercise their right to speak.
“No group that spends very little money, and whose principal product is a policy white paper, should need the state’s permission to speak,” said Dickerson. “Despite good intentions, Colorado’s voters approved laws with that unreasonable and unconstitutional result. We hope this suit will give the federal courts an opportunity to protect CSG and other vulnerable, grassroots speakers.”
CCP plans on calling Diana Hsieh to the witness stand. Should you like to attend or interview Dickerson, please contact Sarah Lee, CCP Communications Director by replying to this email or calling 770.598.7961.