Colorado Springs Gazette: Colorado gets ‘F’ for free speech
By Editorial Board
Our recent “F” grade comes from the Institute for Free Speech, which defends individuals from establishment attacks on their liberties. It deemed the state’s campaign finance laws so top-down and authoritarian our 12-percent score put us above only Alaska, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Five states score 100 percent; an additional six have “A” grades, scoring 94 percent or higher.
“The Supreme Court has long recognized that political speech strikes at the core of the First Amendment, yet today the court gives less protection to that core political speech than it does to topless dancing, flag burning, or tobacco advertisements,” wrote law professor and author Bradley A. Smith, a Harvard Law School graduate and accomplished lawyer who chairs the institute.
Colorado’s oppressive tangle of campaign finance regulations strikes fear among those interested in funding, organizing, or otherwise participating in the process. Doing so can lead to kangaroo court battles and fines most working people cannot afford.
The regulations are so convoluted the secretary of state’s “Colorado Campaign and Political Finance Manual” spends 146 pages trying to simplify them for the public.