Talking Points Memo: Supreme Court Affirms Rule That Some Political Ads Require Disclosing Donors
By Matt Shuham
The Supreme Court affirmed Monday that organizations engaged in certain political communications before an election, even advertisements that do not directly endorse a candidate for office, must disclose their donors to the Federal Election Commission.
A lower court’s judgment in Independence Institute v. Federal Election Commission was affirmed by the Supreme Court Monday. The ruling affirmed the constitutionality of disclosure requirements in the McCain-Feingold Act, which specify that any groups that spend more than $10,000 on “electioneering communications” in the 60 days before a general election (or 30 days before a primary election) must disclose their donors.
“Electioneering communications,” include radio and television ads that mention the name of a candidate for federal office, even those that do not make any explicit endorsement.
In this case, Independence Institute wanted to run a radio ad in 2014 urging listeners in its home state of Colorado to “call Senators Michael Bennet and Mark” and ask them support a bill allowing federal judges more discretion in the sentencing of non-violent offenders.