Making the First Amendment Part of the Conversation

That Colorado’s campaign laws chill free speech when it comes to speaking out for or against ballot measures is now established, incontestable fact. The reams of dense legalize, the onerous reporting requirements, and the risk of getting sued simply keep many citizen activists from getting involved in funded campaigns. On May 11, I taped an edition of Jon Caldara’s “Devil’s Advocate” on Channel 12 to discuss these issues.

I draw your attention to the exchange starting at marker 8:39:

Jenny Flanagan of Colorado Common Cause: “The reality is, the Colorado Constitution requires disclosure. That’s what we have on the books.”

Me: “The reality is we have a First Amendment.”

Flanagan: “That’s the reality. That issue [the Colorado laws’ compatibility with the First Amendment] has not been challenged, and that’s not part of the conversation right now.”

It’s a pretty sad day when the First Amendment is not part of the conversation when it comes to political speech. And that is precisely the problem I seek to redress.

Note: On May 13, two days after the show taped (but before it aired), the Secretary of State’s office announced the rule change raising the “trigger” level for issue-group reporting from $200 to $5,000.

See also my previous links on the matter:

Public’s Alleged “Right to Know” Should Not Trump Free Speech

Colorado’s Campaign Laws Throw Common Sense Out the Window

Arnold Testifies on Campaign Laws

CO Campaign Laws Chill Speech (Videos)

Why Colorado’s Campaign Laws Constitute Censorship

SOS Looks to Mitigate Burden of Campaign Censorship Laws