CCP Files Reply in Colorado Free Speech Case

CONTACT: Sarah Lee, Communications Director, 770.598.7961

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Center for Competitive Politics’s Legal Team filed a response today in Coalition for Secular Government (CSG) v. Gessler, a case currently pending before the Colorado Supreme Court.

The brief explains why Colorado law should not be allowed to regulate CSG as an issue committee. No state has ever attempted to regulate sustained academic work as though it was a political ad, and there is therefore no reason to believe that the people of Colorado intended that result when enacting the state’s campaign finance rules. Furthermore, the state’s laws are so ambiguous that a federal judge was forced to ask the state Supreme Court for clarification, demonstrating that the laws in the state are not easily navigable for a small group like CSG.

The brief is part of ongoing litigation that began in federal court. The case argues that the First Amendment to the US Constitution bars Colorado from forcing small groups like CSG to register with the state before expressing an opinion on, or publishing an analysis of, issues which may become a ballot question.

CCP filed it’s opening brief in the case last December, after the federal court asked the Colorado Supreme Court to answer four questions about Colorado law. Throughout the case, CCP has urged the court to clarify that CSG’s activities are exempt from regulation under the state’s vague campaign finance laws.

Legal Director Allen Dickerson, speaking to the reply filed today, said,  “We hope this brief brings Colorado one step closer to allowing for the free, unfettered discussion of major policy issues. Academics, think tanks, and activists should be able to develop their ideas without worrying that the end product will be treated like a 30-second radio ad.”

A copy of the reply can be found here.