CONTACT: Sarah Lee, Communications Director, CCP, 770.598.7961
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Testifying before a rulemaking hearing for the Colorado Secretary of State yesterday, Center for Competitive Politics Legal Director Allen Dickerson stated that Secretary of State Scott Gessler and his staff should be applauded for making it clear that independent expenditure committees are not subject to contribution limits, something the rulemaking is attempting to address.
Said Dickerson, “this is settled constitutional law. SpeechNow.org v. FEC made this clear at the federal level. And while a D.C. Circuit opinion, it has been widely followed, and a challenge to limits in the 10th Circuit would very likely be successful. This office should be applauded for not drawing senseless and expensive litigation that would put Colorado on the wrong side of citizens’ rights of speech and association.”
Secretary Gessler is undertaking a complete rewrite and of Colorado’s campaign finance administrative rules, and is incorporating binding constitutional decisions, including FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life and SpeechNow.org v. FEC, into those regulations for the first time. As plaintiff’s counsel in SpeechNow.org and amicus in Wisconsin Right to Life, CCP was asked by Gessler to testify.
Dickerson’s testimony concentrated on Colorado’s need for bright-line rules that clearly explain what grassroots organizations can and cannot do, as well as the need to bring Colorado’s laws into compliance with to Supreme Court and lower federal court decisions. For example, besides national decisions such as SpeechNow.org, last year a unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit held that Colorado’s law on political committees violated the First Amendment. (Sampson v. Buescher).
The Center for Competitive Politics is a national organization dedicated to protecting First Amendment rights in the political arena and educating the public and policymakers on the benefits of free and competitive elections. Headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, it was founded in 2005 by Bradley Smith, previously a member of the Federal Election Commission under Presidents Clinton and G. W. Bush.