By Matt Nese
The Institute for Free Speech honored the 60th anniversary of the landmark US Supreme Court case, NAACP v. Alabama. The Court’s unanimous ruling protected the privacy of the NAACP and its members at the height of the civil rights movement. Today, it stands as one of the most important precedents protecting the right of nonprofits to advocate on issues free from burdensome government disclosure mandates.
To commemorate this important victory for privacy and free speech – and to raise awareness of the threats the ruling faces today – Institute for Free Speech experts authored an issue brief on the case, wrote op-eds for The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Examiner, and participated in a debate at the Cato Institute on the decision’s legacy…
As the Court wrote in its decision, “It is hardly a novel perception that compelled disclosure of affiliation with groups engaged in advocacy may constitute as effective a restraint on freedom of association as [other] forms of governmental action…”
Despite NAACP v. Alabama’s clear articulation of the right to associational privacy, state governments often jeopardize this cherished freedom with vague and over broad disclosure laws…
Every legislative session, IFS discovers and analyzes bills in state legislatures that would violate the privacy of nonprofits and their supporters. Raising awareness of NAACP v. Alabama and the importance of associational privacy is key to pushing back against this dangerous trend.
By Matt Nese
Filed Under: In the News
State Policy Network: Connecticut to candidates: Don’t talk about the Governor, or else (In the News)
By Matt Nese
One of the most important jobs of a state legislature is to check the power of the executive branch. Yet in Connecticut, legislative candidates have been fined simply for mentioning the governor’s policies in campaign ads. The Institute for Free Speech is helping those candidates fight back.
In 2014, Connecticut General Assembly members Joe Markley and Rob Sampson ran for re-election on similar platforms. Both had fought against Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy’s policies on taxes and government spending and wished to tout their records to voters. But when they mentioned the governor in their campaign ads, they unwittingly violated state campaign finance laws. As a result, the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) assessed them $7,000 in fines.
Represented by the Institute for Free Speech, Markley and Sampson are asking a Connecticut court to vacate the fines and declare the law invalid, unconstitutional, or both. The First Amendment does not permit the government to regulate the content of campaign ads. Yet Connecticut’s law effectively bans legislative candidates from criticizing the governor in their ads…
The SEEC’s ruling, and the underlying regulations and laws upon which it is based, are a clear violation of the First Amendment. It is absurd to force legislative candidates to split the advertising costs with a candidate for governor, who might well refuse to do so, anytime they criticize the governor’s policies. Likewise, campaign regulators should not be able to fine candidates for expressing their policy positions in a mailer.
IFS is optimistic the courts will vindicate its clients’ First Amendment rights.
The Institute for Free Speech is excited to welcome Eric Peterson to the External Relations team as a Senior Policy Analyst. Prior to joining IFS, Eric was a Senior Policy Analyst at Americans for Prosperity, where he worked on issues ranging from pensions to occupational licensing reform. He graduated from Tulane in 2012 with degrees […]
Filed Under: Blog
The Honorable Jennifer Williamson The Honorable Mike McLane The Honorable Dan Rayfield Re: H.B. 4076; Taxpayer-Financed Campaigns – A Failed and Costly Policy Dear Chair Williamson, Vice-Chair McLane, Vice-Chair Rayfield, and Members of the House Rules Committee: On behalf of the Institute for Free Speech (the “Institute”), I respectfully submit the following comments concerning myriad […]
Filed Under: Blog, External Relations Comments and Testimony, State, State Comments and Testimony, Tax Financed Campaigns Comments, Tax Financed Campaigns State, Tax-Financing, H.B. 4076, Los Angeles, New York City, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Oregon
Attorneys say First Amendment guarantees right to petition government Alexandria, VA – A volunteer who talks to state legislators asked a federal appeals court late yesterday to rule that the First Amendment bars the state of Missouri from forcing him to register and report like a professional lobbyist. Ron Calzone volunteers his time and pays […]
Alexandria, VA – The Center for Competitive Politics released an analysis today by Senior Fellow Eric Wang regarding the latest iteration of the DISCLOSE Act. Similar proposals have been introduced in Congress dating back to 2010 with the aim of creating a “deterrent effect” on political speech. The “DISCLOSE Act of 2017” (S. 1585) may […]
Filed Under: Blog, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Corporate Governance, Corporate Governance Comments, Corporate Governance Federal, Corporate Governance Press Release/In the News/Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure, Disclosure Federal, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, Federal Comments and Testimony, Issues, Newsroom, Press Releases, DISCLOSE Act of 2017, Donor Privacy, Electioneering Communications, foreign nationals, Harassment, sheldon whitehouse
Alexandria, VA – A Sacramento County Superior Court judge struck down a law passed late last year to allow state and some local governments to enact taxpayer financing of political campaigns. The Court ruled the Legislature’s attempt to bypass a vote of the people on such legislation violated the California Constitution and the 1974 Political […]
Filed Under: Blog, hjta v Brown, Newsroom, Press Releases, Tax Financed Campaigns Press Release/In the News/Blog, Tax-Financing, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Political Reform Act of 1974, Proposition 73, Quentin Kopp, California