Tenth Circuit Court shoots down Colorado's campaign finance requirement
DENVER, Colorado: Colorado campaign finance requirements for small groups supporting or opposing a ballot measure is burdensome according to a ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
The court's decision came about while reviewing a state law that requires that two or more people who spend more than $200 to report spending. The burden of such laws, the court said, outweighs ensuring the interest in ensuring fair elections. Specifically the case stemmed from a complaint filed against six homeowners who fought annexation in 2006 in the City of Parker. The six-person group raised and spent less than $1,000.
"Colorado law, as applied to the plaintiffs, has violated their constitutional freedom of association. There is virtually no proper governmental interest in imposing disclosure requirements on ballot-initiative committees that raise and expend so little money," said the court.
According to state law, all groups in support or opposition of a ballot measure are considered to be issue committees. Colorado law imposes $50 per day fines on committees that spend as much as $200 on a ballot measure and do not report. All committees are required to file campaign finance reports for any and all contributions of $20 or more.
- Campaign finance requirements for Colorado ballot measures
- State by state comparison of campaign finance reporting requirements
- Ballot Access News, "Tenth Circuit Strikes Down Disclosure Requirements for Small Ballot Measure Campaigns," November 9, 2010
- Associated Press, "Court: No campaign finance limits for small groups," November 9, 2010
- The Denver Post, "Court says campaign-finance rules don't apply to small homeowner group," November 10, 2010
- Colorado Constitution, "Campaign Finance"(Referenced Section Article XXVIII, Section 2 (10)(A)(i))
- Colorado Fair Campaign Practices Act of 1974 "Colorado Campaign Finance Laws"(Referenced Statute Section 1-45-108)