Legal Center Press Releases
Press Releases

January 28, 2015 -- Circuit Court Urged to Uphold SEC's Pay-to-Play Rules for State Investment Funds

Today, the Campaign Legal Center, joined by Democracy 21, filed an amici brief in New York Republican State Committee v. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), urging the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to reject the latest challenge to pay-to-play laws brought by the state Republican parties of New York and Tennessee

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January 23, 2015 -- Groups Support Voter-Passed Arizona Redistricting Commission in Supreme Court Challenge by Legislature

Today in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, groups advocating representative democracy filed an amici brief in the United States Supreme Court in support of an Arizona state constitutional amendment passed by voters giving an independent commission responsibility over congressional redistricting. The law is being challenged by the Arizona State Legislature, which engaged in a series of extreme political gerrymanders that led voters to approve the creation of an independent redistricting commission.

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January 15, 2015 - Watchdogs File Comments in Post-McCutcheon FEC Rulemaking
 
Today, the Campaign Legal Center, joined by Democracy 21, filed rulemaking comments urging the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to follow the Supreme Court’s recommendations in McCutcheon v. FEC to prevent corruption of candidates and circumvention of the base contribution limits after the court struck down the aggregate cap on contributions.  The watchdog groups pressed the FEC to strengthen and enforce regulations cited by the Court as preventing corruption, covering disclosure, earmarking, affiliation and joint fundraising committees, and also to close regulatory loopholes regarding coordination and the new party accounts created by the omnibus appropriations bill passed last month.

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January 15, 2015 - Election Law Practicum at Georgetown University Law Center Will Aid Campaign Legal Center Litigation
Paul Smith of Jenner & Block & J. Gerald Hebert of Legal Center to Lead Course

Beginning today, Georgetown University law students will have the opportunity to undertake hands-on legal work in pending election law and voting rights cases through a semester-long practicum course for credit.  The election law class will be co-taught by Paul M. Smith, the Chair of Jenner & Block’s Appellate and Supreme Court Practice, and J. Gerald Hebert, the Campaign Legal Center’s Executive Director and Director of Litigation.

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January 13, 2015 - Watchdogs Urge New Jersey Ethics Commission to Investigate Gov. Christie’s Free Flights & Tickets to Cowboys Games

Last night, the Campaign Legal Center, joined by Democracy 21 and Public Citizen, urged the State Ethics Commission of New Jersey to investigate possible violations of the state’s ethics and conflict of interest laws by Governor Chris Christie.  The Governor accepted chartered flights and free tickets to games from Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, who is a significant stakeholder in a company awarded lucrative contracts with the Port Authority.  According to press reports, Governor Christie personally pushed for the Port Authority to award the contract to Legends Hospitality LLC to operate the observation deck on the top floor of One World Trade Center.  Further, the Governor has extensive dealings with the National Football League, including the granting of more than seventeen million dollars in state funds in the form of sales tax breaks and security costs surrounding the State’s hosting of the 2014 Super Bowl.

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January 12, 2015 - Legal Center Executive Director Begins Teaching Voting Rights Course at New York Law School

Today, Campaign Legal Center Executive Director J. Gerald Hebert began teaching a semester-long voting rights class at New York Law School (NYLS).  Through the study of constitutional amendments, Supreme Court jurisprudence and legislative action, including the Voting Rights Act, the course will trace the history of voting rights in the United States.  The course will also examine federal, state and local efforts to restrict voting rights, including new laws passed in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.  Under Mr. Hebert’s guidance, students in the class will evaluate pending court cases involving voting rights and determine whether participation in the litigation is appropriate.

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January 9, 2015 - Former FEC Chairman Scott Thomas Joins Campaign Legal Center Board

The Campaign Legal Center is pleased to announce that Scott Thomas, former Chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), has joined the organization’s Board of Directors.  Mr. Thomas is currently co-leader of the Public Policy and Political Law Practice at the law firm Dickstein Shapiro.

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December 24, 2014 - Groups’ Supreme Court Brief Supports Florida Law Barring Campaign Solicitations by Judges

Yesterday in Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar, groups concerned about impartial justice filed an amici brief in the United States Supreme Court in support of a Florida law barring the personal solicitation of contributions by judicial candidates.  The brief argues that personal solicitations by candidates undermine public faith in the judicial process and that the state has a duty to safeguard judicial integrity through a reasonable and targeted response like the ban on those solicitations.

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December 18, 2014 - FCC Launches Political File Rulemaking for Cable, Satellite and Radio in Response to Reform Groups’ Petition

In response to a petition filed by the Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause and the Sunlight Foundation, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposes to require cable, satellite and radio to post online the political file the providers are already required to maintain on paper.

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December 16, 2014 - Colorado District Court Denies Preliminary Injunction & Temporary Restraining Order in Challenge to Electioneering Communications Disclosure Provisions

Today in Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) v. Gessler, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado denied motions for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction stemming from a challenge to the state’s electioneering communications disclosure provisions. The federal court declined to exercise jurisdiction over the claims, ruling instead that the issues should be addressed in state administrative and/or state court proceedings.

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December 12, 2014 – Reform Groups Urge President Obama to Veto Omnibus Appropriations Bill if it Clears Senate

Reform groups today sent a letter to President Obama stating that if the Omnibus Appropriations legislation becomes law, it includes the most corrupting campaign finance provisions ever enacted.

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December 11, 2014 - House Spending Bill Vote Includes Million Dollar Contributions for Party Committees: Statement of Meredith McGehee, Policy Director

The U.S. House of Representatives today threw all but the wealthiest voters under the bus.  Less than two months after an election where Members promised voters the world, the House betrayed voters by passing an omnibus spending bill littered with perks for special interests and gutting contribution limits.  Even more disappointing, President Obama actively lobbied for a bill that contains provisions diametrically opposed to the values he espoused when running for President.

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December 11, 2014 - Reform Groups Urge Congress to Vote No on Omnibus Approriations Bill and Its Corrupting Campaign Finance Provisions

Reform groups today sent a letter to Congress strongly urging Senators and Representatives to vote no on the Omnibus Appropriations bill. If enacted, the bill contains the most corrupting campaign finance provisions ever passed by Congress.

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December 9, 2014 - Democrats & Republicans Collude to Raise Contribution Limits in Omnibus Appropriations Bill: Statement of Meredith McGehee

This backroom deal represents everything Americans detest about Washington and about Congress.  Rather than pass legislation to fix the corrupt existing campaign finance system, this Congress that couldn't pass a bill to simply increase transparency for campaign contributions decided to raise the price for its attentions.  The price for seat at the table in Washington just went up again and even further out of reach for all but the very richest of Americans.  

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December 8, 2014 - Brief Challenges Sanctions in New Mexican Voting Rights Appeal Before Tenth Circuit

Today, attorneys who had represented Latino voters in an Albuquerque voting rights case, Baca v. Berry, filed their opening brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, challenging a District Court order imposing sanctions on them for unduly prolonging court proceedings after they had already moved to dismiss the case.  The voters originally brought the case to challenge the City of Albuquerque’s redistricting plan for city council districts.  After the case was brought, Albuquerque voters passed a referendum that altered the way the city council is elected.  In light of this change in the law, the voters sought to dismiss their suit without prejudice, which would have allowed them to bring another lawsuit if the new voting law failed to fix problems with the map. But the city sought to have the case dismissed with prejudice, which would have prevented plaintiffs from filing another challenge. The judge declined to dismiss the case, instead putting it on hold until the results of several upcoming city council elections were known.  Subsequently the judge dismissed the case with prejudice and granted the city’s motion to sanction plaintiffs’ attorneys for prolonging the case, ordering them to pay $48,000.  The attorneys are appealing, and the city is also appealing, seeking additional monetary sanctions against the voters who brought the case. 

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November 26, 2014 - Plaintiffs Seek Expedited Appeal in Texas Voter ID Case to Restore Right to Vote for Hundreds of Thousands in 2015 Elections

Today, attorneys at the Campaign Legal Center, who serve as co-counsel for plaintiffs Congressman Marc Veasey and LULAC, filed a motion to expedite a pending appeal in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Veasey v. Perry—the challenge to Texas’ overly restrictive photo ID law (SB 14). 

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November 25, 2014 - District Court Grants Summary Judgment Striking Down FEC Disclosure Rules That Spurred ‘Dark Money’ Abuses

Today in Van Hollen v. FEC, Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held that a Federal Election Commission (FEC) rule improperly narrowed the scope of the McCain-Feingold law’s disclosure requirements and allowed nonprofit 501(c)(4) advocacy groups, 501(c)(6) business associations, and others to spend millions on “electioneering communications” without disclosing their donors.

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November 25, 2014 - Colorado District Court Urged to Reject Another Challenge to Electioneering Communications Disclosure Provisions

Today, the Campaign Legal Center, joined by Democracy 21 and Public Citizen, filed an amici brief in Rocky Mountain Gun Owners v. Gessler,urging theU.S. District Court for the District of Colorado to reject a challenge to the Colorado Constitution’s “electioneering communications” disclosure provisions and deny a preliminary injunction.  The state law is materially identical to the federal “electioneering communications” disclosure statute, which has been repeatedly upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, most recently in the 2010 Citizens United decision. 

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November 17, 2014 - Former Solicitor General Charles Fried Joins Campaign Legal Center Board

The Campaign Legal Center is pleased to announce that Charles Fried is joining the organization’s board of directors. Prof. Fried served as Solicitor General of the United States under President Ronald Reagan, and as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. He currently is the Beneficial Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, where he first taught in 1961.

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November 14, 2014 - Fifth Circuit Reverses Lower Court and Restores Mississippi Disclosure Requirements 

Today, in Justice v. Hosemann, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed a trial court ruling that had struck down several Mississippi disclosure requirements as applied to certain individuals and groups engaged in ballot measure advocacy.  The Campaign Legal Center had filed an amicus brief and later a supplemental letter brief in the case urging this result. 

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November 13, 2014 - FCC Complaint Filed Against Disney-Owned ABC Affiliate in Chicago for Ignoring Warnings of Violations of Ad Disclosure Rules

Yesterday, the Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause and the Sunlight Foundation filed a complaint at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) alleging violations of long-standing rules and law by WLS, an ABC broadcast television station in Chicago, IL.  WLS is owned by ABC, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company.  The complaint notes that WLS refused to disclose the "true identity" of the sponsor of political ads being run by Independence USA PAC, even after the watchdog groups alerted the station to its violations and identified the PAC’s sole sponsor as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

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October 30, 2014 - Legal Center Welcomes Joshua Bone, New Legal Fellow

The Campaign Legal Center (CLC) welcomes Joshua Bone as its 2014-15 Campaign Legal Center Legal Fellow.  Mr. Bone is the third Fellow to hold the one-year position designed for recent law school graduates interested in issues relating to campaign finance, voting rights and other election law issues.  The Campaign Legal Center gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Bernard & Audre Rapoport Foundation for providing the funding support for CLC to launch its Legal Fellow program in  2012.

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October 29, 2014 - Campaign Legal Center Urges Federal Court to Reject Challenge to Wisconsin Restrictions on Coordinated Spending

Today, the Campaign Legal Center submitted an amicus brief to theU.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, to be filed upon leave of the court, in Citizens for Responsible Government Advocates (CRG) v. Barland.  The brief urges the court to reject CRG’s motion to enjoin Wisconsin’s restrictions on the coordination of expenditures between candidates and outside groups.The court has already entered a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of the law.

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October 24, 2014 - Groups Challenging FEC Dismissal of Crossroads GPS Complaint File Reply Brief

On Wednesday night, in Public Citizen v. FEC, reform groups filed a reply brief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia reiterating a request that the court declare the FEC’s dismissal of a complaint against the secretive 501(c)(4) political group Crossroads GPS contrary to law, and arbitrary and capricious.

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October 22, 2014 - District Court Rejects Challenge to Colorado Disclosure Provisions for Electioneering Communications

Today, in Independence Institute v. Gessler, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado dismissed a challenge to the “electioneering communications” disclosure provisions enshrined in Colorado’s state constitution.  The state measure is materially indistinguishable from the federal “electioneering communications” disclosure statute which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court as recently as the 2010 Citizens United decision.  On September 25, the Campaign Legal Center, joined by Democracy 21 and Public Citizen, filed an amici brief to defend Colorado’s law.

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October 22, 2014 - Distinguished Litigator Roger Witten Joins Campaign Legal Center Board

The Campaign Legal Center is pleased to announce that Roger Witten is joining the organization’s board of directors.  Mr. Witten is Senior Counsel at WilmerHale where he co-chaired the litigation department for a number of years.

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October 20, 2014 - Washington Area ABC Affiliate Continues to Violate Ads Disclosure Rules Drawing Another FCC Complaint

This evening, the Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause and the Sunlight Foundation filed a complaint at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) alleging violations of long-standing rules and law by WJLA, an ABC-affiliated broadcast station in Washington, D.C.  The complaint notes that WJLA continues to refuse to disclose the "true identity" of the sponsor of political ads being run by NextGen Climate Action Committee and asks for expedited action given that Election Day is just a few weeks away.

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October 18, 2014 - Supreme Court Leaves Hundreds of Thousands of Texans Without the Ability to Vote  

This morning, in Veasey v. Perry, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to stop a Texas photo voter ID (SB 14) law from being used in the upcoming election, despite the fact that one week earlier a U.S. District Court ruled the law unconstitutionally racially discriminatory and a poll tax.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit had subsequently stayed that ruling, leaving SB 14 in effect due to concerns that striking down the law now would disturb the upcoming election. The Campaign Legal Center is part of the legal team representing voters and elected officials adversely impacted by the law, and has argued that permitting the photo ID law to remain in effect will cause more confusion for voters and election officials.

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October 15, 2014 - Texas Voters File Emergency Appeal with Supreme Court to Stop Texas Discriminatory Voter I.D. Law

This morning, Texas voters and elected officials filed an emergency application with the U.S. Supreme Court to vacate a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stay that would leave a Texas voter ID law in place for the coming election, despite the fact that a lower court had ruled the law unconstitutionally discriminatory and a poll tax.  The Campaign Legal Center is part of the legal team representing voters and elected officials adversely impacted by the law.

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October 15, 2014 - Groups from Across the Political Spectrum Call for Reform of the Congressional Ethics Process

Today, a range of groups from across the political spectrum called on both the House and Senate to make significant reforms to their ethics processes to increase public confidence in the integrity of the institution. At a roundtable event on Capitol Hill to be aired later by C-Span, the groups discussed proposed reforms with staff from congressional offices as well as reporters.

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October 14, 2014 - Fifth Circuit Reinstates Confusing Texas Voter I.D. Law for November Election

Tonight, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reinstated the State of Texas’ Voter Photo ID (SB 14) law in Veasey v. Perry, just five days after a U.S. District Court struck down the law finding it had “an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose.”  The District Court also found it to be an unconstitutional poll tax. The Campaign Legal Center is part of the legal team representing voters and elected officials adversely impacted by the law.

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October 9, 2014 - Texas Voter I.D. Law Struck Down as Unconstitutionally Discriminatory, Violative of Voting Rights Act and a “Poll Tax”

Tonight, a federal court struck down Texas’ Voter ID (SB 14) law as an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote in Veasey v. Perry.  Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Corpus Christi found SB 14 had “an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose.”  Further the court held that the law constituted an “unconstitutional poll tax.”  The Campaign Legal Center was part of the legal team representing voters and elected officials adversely impacted by the law.

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October 9, 2014 - FEC Invites More Influence Buying in Washington – Approves Request to Double Limits on Contributions to RNC & DNC
 
Today, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) ignored the laws passed by Congress in order to provide wealthy individuals a way to double the amount they can contribute to the national political parties. Vice Chair Ann Ravel joined with Republican Commissioners to greenlight the gutting of existing federal limits on contributions to national political parties established in the wake of Watergate.  A single individual can now give more than $250,000 to either the RNC or the DNC each presidential cycle.

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October 8, 2014 - Appeals Court Affirms Sweeping Decision Upholding Texas Campaign Finance Laws
 
Today, the Texas Court of Appeals for the Third District affirmed a sweeping lower court decision upholding numerous provisions of Texas campaign finance law in Texas Democratic Party v. King Street Patriots.  The Campaign Legal Center filed amicus briefs in both the district court and the Court of Appeals defending the constitutionality of Texas’s campaign finance laws.   

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October 8, 2014 - Watchdogs Urge FEC to Reject RNC & DNC Request to Open Soft Money Loophole for Convention Funds

Today, the Campaign Legal Center, joined by Democracy 21, strongly urged the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to reject the request from the Republican National Committee (RNC) and Democratic National Committee (DNC) seeking to undermine the existing federal limits on contributions to national political parties established in the wake of Watergate.  The watchdog groups filed comments on the FEC’s draft responses to Advisory Opinion Request 2014-12, where the national party committees seek permission to raise funds for party conventions under a separate contribution limit.

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October 7, 2014 - Miami Hosts Latest Voting Rights Institute to Train New Generation of Voting Rights Lawyers

Today, Campaign Legal Center’s latest Voting Rights Institute training will take place in Miami, Florida. At the session, co-hosted by American Constitution Society, practitioners will learn the ‘ins and outs’ of protecting the right to vote through the enforcement of voting rights laws.  Cases brought to enforce Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution will be a particular focus of the training.  

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October 6, 2014 - District Court Rejects Challenge to Disclosure Provisions Upheld by Supreme Court in Citizens United

Today, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a challenge to the federal “electioneering communications” disclosure provisions in Independence Institute v. Federal Election Commission (FEC). Last month, the Campaign Legal Center, joined by Democracy 21 and Public Citizen, filed an amici brief in the case, urging the Court to reject the suit, arguing that the exact same disclosure provisions had been upheld by the Supreme Court as recently as the 2010 Citizens United decision.

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October 6, 2014 - Groups from Across Political Spectrum Urge House Leaders to Strengthen House Ethics Process

Today, a broad range of reform, conservative and taxpayer organizations joined with scholars to urge House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to strengthen the House ethics process. The National Taxpayers Union, Taxpayers for Common Sense and Judicial Watch joined reformers in calling on the bipartisan House Leaders to make the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) permanent, to grant the Office subpoena power and to bring the work of the House Ethics Committee out from behind closed doors through increased transparency in the process.  

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October 1, 2014 - Court Dismisses Challenge to SEC’s Pay-to-Play Rules Covering State Investment Funds

Last night, in New York Republican State Committee v. SEC, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a challenge to an SEC pay-to-pay rule.  The regulation bars investment firms from managing state assets for two years after a firm or its associates make more than de minimis contributions to officeholders or candidates in a position to award investment contracts.   The lawsuit was brought by the state Republican parties of New York and Tennessee, both of which argued that the rule indirectly affected their fundraising, and burdened their members and candidates.

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September 25, 2014 - District Court Urged to Reject Challenge to Colorado Disclosure Provisions for Electioneering Communications

Today, the Campaign Legal Center, joined by Democracy 21 and Public Citizen, filed an amici brief in Independence Institute v. Gessler, urging the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado to dismiss a challenge to the Colorado Constitution’s “electioneering communications” disclosure provisions.  The state law is materially identical to the federal “electioneering communications” disclosure statute which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court as recently as the 2010 Citizens United decision.  Plaintiff recently filed a suit challenging that federal statute as well.

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September 24, 2014 - 7th Circuit Overturns Ruling Halting ‘John Doe’ Investigation of Gov. Walker’s Campaign in Wisconsin 

Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed a district court order that halted an investigation into apparent illegal coordination between the campaign of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and ostensibly “independent” outside groups.  In May, U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Randa issued a preliminary injunction in O’Keefe v. Chisholm halting the Wisconsin prosecutors’ investigation and ordering them to destroy evidence gathered in the case tying the Governor and his campaign to outside groups, including Wisconsin Club for Growth.  On August 8, 2014, the Campaign Legal Center, joined by Democracy 21, filed an amici brief, focusing on the flawed constitutional argument the Judge relied upon in enjoining the investigation, and urging the Seventh Circuit to reverse the district court order.

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