Independence Institute v. Williams
On September 2, 2014, the Independence Institute filed suit challenging the constitutionality of Colorado’s “electioneering communication” disclosure provisions, which require a group spending over $1,000 on television, radio or print ads that mention the name of a state candidate within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary election to disclose its donors. The Institute is claiming that the law is unconstitutional as applied ads that do not constitute express advocacy or its functional equivalent. The district court dismissed the suit and the plaintiffs appealed to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The U.S. Supreme Court has twice upheld the materially identical federal “electioneering communications” disclosure requirements: first in McConnell v. FEC (2003) in a facial challenge, and again in Citizens United v. FEC (2010) in an as-applied challenge nearly identical to the current lawsuit.