Utah Agrees to Pay $125,000 in Free Speech Lawsuit

State of Utah previously conceded First Amendment violation

Alexandria, VA – The state of Utah today told a federal court it would pay $125,000 in attorney’s fees in a constitutional challenge to its campaign finance laws. If the court approves the fees, as expected, it would mark the final step in a lawsuit filed on behalf of three Utah groups by attorneys at the Center for Competitive Politics (CCP). Federal civil rights laws provide for fee awards when states violate constitutional rights.

“The First Amendment requires legislators to write laws with care and precision,” said CCP Legal Director Allen Dickerson. “Poor drafting can harm vital constitutional rights, as happened here, and result in complex and expensive litigation.”

U.S. District Court Judge Dale A. Kimball approved a settlement in the case July 14. In the settlement, Utah agreed not to enforce a state campaign finance law that violated the First Amendment. That agreement indicated the fee award would be resolved at a later date.

The complex law required nonprofit advocacy groups to register with the state and publicly report their supporters’ private information. The groups said this threatened donations to those organizations and attorneys for the state agreed the law was unconstitutional.

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