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Attack Ballot Issue Disclosure Root and Branch: Comment on A Cold Breeze in California: ProtectMarriage Reveals the Chilling Effect of Campaign Finance Disclosure on Ballot Measure Issue Advocacy

By Steve Simpson
November 16, 2009
For years, the lower federal and many state courts have given short shrift to the First Amendment rights of those who wish to contribute money to groups that advocate the passage or defeat of ballot measures. Twenty-four states allow legislation to be passed in this manner, and in every one, the law requires groups advocating the passage or defeat of ballot measures to disclose the names, addresses, and often employers of their contributors. This not only chills the participation of potential contributors, as Stephen Klein ably demonstrates; it can be an enormous burden on ballot issue groups as well. Many states treat them like political committees, requiring them to file registration statements, appoint treasurers, and track and report not only contributions but also all expenditures...