Colorado Amendment 27, Campaign Finance Regulations (2002)
|Colorado Amendment 27 (2003)|
Election results via: Colorado Secretary of State (P.144-155)
Following a January 21, 2010 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Citizens United v. FEC, Colorado Republicans announced that they planned to challenge the state's state's campaign finance law. According to the SCOTUS ruling, the limits on corporate and labor union contributions were unconstitutional.
On November 9, 2010, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in "Sampson v. Buescher that Amendment 27 imposes an unconstitutional burden on the rights of free speech and association as it applies to small Issue Committees (groups formed with "a major purpose of supporting or opposing any ballot issue or ballot question", as contrasted to groups supporting or opposing candidates in contested elections). However, the court did not overturn the amendment.
Major supporters of the amendment included:
- The amendment will curb election costs and negative campaign ads by setting spending limits between $65,000 for state house candidates and $2.5 million for the governor candidates. This allows public offices to be more accessible to average citizens.
- The amendment limits large contribution from wealthy special interests by setting contribution limits of $200 per election for legislative candidates and $500 per election for statewide candidates.
- The amendment will end corporations buying access and influence by prohibiting direct contributions from corporations and labor unions.
- The amendment will create more open elections by requiring full disclosure of funding sources for groups running political ads.
- The amendment will encourage better citizen participation and more equal voice by limiting contributions to small donor committees to $50 per person.
Major opponents of the amendment included:
- Campaign finance regulation in other states shows that it gives incumbents an advantage in elections.
- The amendment will "lessen competition, entrench incumbents, and needlessly limit political rights".
Path to the ballot
In November of 1996, voters in Colorado passed Colorado Campaign Finance Act. The act created contribution limits to candidates, voluntary spending limits, bans on direct contributions from corporations and labor unions, and stronger disclosure requirements. The act was challenged in federal courts, but largely upheld. Despite the ruling, the Colorado legislature essentially dismantled the law in 2000. This led supporter of campaign finance regulation to push for a constitutional amendment, which would become the 2002 ballot question.
- News: Colorado Republicans plan to challenge state campaign finance law
- List of Colorado ballot measures
- Colorado 2002 ballot measures
- 2002 ballot measures
- Procedures for qualifying an initiative in Colorado
- Laws governing the initiative process in Colorado
- Campaign finance requirements for Colorado ballot measures
- Colorado signature requirements
- ↑ The Denver Post,"Colorado GOP to sue to lift campaign money limits," January 22, 2010
- ↑ The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel,"High court overturns ban on corporate political spending," January 22, 2010
- ↑ "Washington Post" Supreme Court rolls back campaign spending limits, January 21, 2010
- ↑ ABC 7 - The Denver Channel,"Advocates Predict Challenge To Colorado Campaign Finance Law," January 21, 2010
- ↑ Business Week, "Court: No campaign finance limits for small groups," November 10, 2010
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Common Cause: Amendment 27
- ↑ The CATO Institute, "Amendment 27 Will Help Keep Incumbents in Office and Challengers Out," November 2, 2002
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