Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler has done to best he can to make the rules surrounding the state’s campaign-finance laws more comprehensible and less oppressive. For daring to stand up for the free-speech rights of Coloradans to the degree his office permits, Gessler has earned the scorn of the pro-censorship left.
Contrary to the complaints of some of Gessler’s critics, Gessler is required by the Colorado Constitution to “promulgate such rules… as may be necessary to administer and enforce any provision of” the campaign finance laws (see Article XXVIII, Section 9(1)(b)).
Given that federal courts have struck down some aspects of those laws, Gessler must therefore promulgate rules that take the relevant court decisions into account.
As the Denver Post reports, yesterday Gessler implemented rules based on those considered at a December 15 hearing.
I attended that hearing, and I spoke out in favor of Gessler’s proposed rules. (I also harshly condemned the campaign laws as a violation of free speech, though obviously that broader issue lies outside of Gessler’s administrative capacities.)
Today I release another video of that hearing in which three people—Allen Dickerson, Regina Thompson, and Natelie Menten—also voice their concerns about the campaign-finance laws but (at least mostly) support Gessler’s efforts to clarify the rules and make them as unburdensome as possible. (Some of the meaning of their comments is fully clear only in light of the particular laws and rule changes under consideration at the hearing.) For more details about the campaign finance laws and about the rules Gessler helped to rewrite, please see the links below.
Campaign Finance Rules: Collected Testimony
Braunlich: CO Campaign Laws Chill Speech of New Activists, Small Groups
Gessler Emerges as the Free Speech Secretary of State