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1-45-103. Definitions

Overview of Statute

This section includes definitions for terms used in this section. Many of these definitions incorporate statutory definitions used in other code sections.

Statute

As used in this article, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) “Appropriate officer” shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 2 (1) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

(1.3) “Ballot issue” shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 1-1-104 (2.3); except that, for purposes of section 1-45-117, “ballot issue” shall mean both a ballot issue as defined in this subsection (1.3) and a ballot question.

(1.5) “Ballot question” shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 1-1-104 (2.7).

(2) “Candidate” shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 2 (2) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

(3) “Candidate committee” shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 2 (3) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

(4) “Candidate committee account” shall mean the account established by a candidate committee with a financial institution pursuant to section 3 (9) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

(5) “Conduit” shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 2 (4) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

(6) (a) “Contribution” shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 2 (5) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

(b) “Contribution” includes, with regard to a contribution for which the contributor receives compensation or consideration of less than equivalent value to such contribution, including, but not limited to, items of perishable or nonpermanent value, goods, supplies, services, or participation in a campaign-related event, an amount equal to the value in excess of such compensation or consideration as determined by the candidate committee.

(c) “Contribution” also includes:

(I) Any payment, loan, pledge, gift, advance of money, or guarantee of a loan made to any political organization;

(II) Any payment made to a third party on behalf of and with the knowledge of the political organization; or

(III) The fair market value of any gift or loan of property made to any political organization.

(7) “Corporation” means a domestic corporation incorporated under and subject to the “Colorado Business Corporation Act”, articles 101 to 117 of title 7, C.R.S., a domestic nonprofit corporation incorporated under and subject to the “Colorado Revised Nonprofit Corporation Act”, articles 121 to 137 of title 7, C.R.S., or any corporation incorporated under and subject to the laws of another state. For purposes of this article, “domestic corporation” shall mean a for-profit or nonprofit corporation incorporated under and subject to the laws of this state, and “nondomestic corporation” shall mean a corporation incorporated under and subject to the laws of another state or foreign country. For purposes of this article, “corporation” includes the parent of a subsidiary corporation or any subsidiaries of the parent, as applicable.

(7.3) (a) “Donation” means:

(I) The payment, loan, pledge, gift, or advance of money, or the guarantee of a loan, made to any person for the purpose of making an independent expenditure;

(II) Any payment made to a third party that relates to, and is made for the benefit of, any person that makes an independent expenditure;

(III) The fair market value of any gift or loan of property that is given to any person for the purpose of making an independent expenditure; or

(IV) Anything of value given, directly or indirectly, to any person for the purpose of making an independent expenditure.

(b) “Donation” shall not include a transfer by a membership organization of a portion of a member’s dues for an independent expenditure sponsored by such membership organization.

(7.5) “Earmark” means a designation, instruction, or encumbrance that directs the transmission by the recipient of all or part of a donation to a third party for the purpose of making one or more independent expenditures in excess of one thousand dollars.

(8) “Election cycle” shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 2 (6) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

(9) “Electioneering communication” shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 2 (7) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

(10) “Expenditure” shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 2 (8) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

(10.5) “Foreign corporation” means:

(a) A parent corporation or the subsidiary of a parent corporation formed under the laws of a foreign country that is functionally equivalent to a domestic corporation;

(b) A parent corporation or the subsidiary of a parent corporation in which one or more foreign persons hold a combined ownership interest that exceeds fifty percent;

(c) A parent corporation or the subsidiary of a parent corporation in which one or more foreign persons hold a majority of the positions on the corporation’s board of directors; or

(d) A parent corporation or the subsidiary of a parent corporation whose United States-based operations, or whose decision-making with respect to political activities, falls under the direction or control of a foreign entity, including the government of a foreign country.

(11) “Independent expenditure” shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 2 (9) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

(11.5) “Independent expenditure committee” means one or more persons that make an independent expenditure in an aggregate amount in excess of one thousand dollars or that collect in excess of one thousand dollars from one or more persons for the purpose of making an independent expenditure.

(12) (a) “Issue committee” shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 2 (10) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

(b) For purposes of section 2 (10) (a) (I) of article XXVIII of the state constitution, “major purpose” means support of or opposition to a ballot issue or ballot question that is reflected by:

(I) An organization’s specifically identified objectives in its organizational documents at the time it is established or as such documents are later amended; or

(II) An organization’s demonstrated pattern of conduct based upon its:

(A) Annual expenditures in support of or opposition to a ballot issue or ballot question; or

(B) Production or funding, or both, of written or broadcast communications, or both, in support of or opposition to a ballot issue or ballot question.

(c) The provisions of paragraph (b) of this subsection (12) are intended to clarify, based on the decision of the Colorado court of appeals in Independence Institute v. Coffman, 209 P.3d 1130 (Colo. App. 2008), cert. denied, — U.S. —, 130 S. Ct. 165, 175 L. Ed. 479 (2009), section 2 (10) (a) (I) of article XXVIII of the state constitution and not to make a substantive change to said section 2 (10) (a) (I).

(12.5) “Media outlet” means a publication or broadcast medium that transmits news, feature stories, entertainment, or other information to the public through various distribution channels, including, without limitation, newspapers; magazines; radio; and broadcast, cable, or satellite television.

(12.7) “Obligating” means, in connection with a named candidate, agreeing to spend in excess of one thousand dollars for an independent expenditure or to give, pledge, loan, or purchase one or more goods, services, or other things of value that have a fair market value in excess of one thousand dollars as an independent expenditure. “Obligating” shall not require that the total amount in excess of one thousand dollars be finally determined at the time of the agreement to spend moneys for an independent expenditure or to give, pledge, loan, or purchase anything of value.

(13) “Person” shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 2 (11) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

(14) “Political committee” shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 2 (12) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

(14.5) “Political organization” means a political organization defined in section 527 (e) (1) of the federal “Internal Revenue Code of 1986”, as amended, that is engaged in influencing or attempting to influence the selection, nomination, election, or appointment of any individual to any state or local public office in the state and that is exempt, or intends to seek any exemption, from taxation pursuant to section 527 of the internal revenue code. “Political organization” shall not be construed to have the same meaning as “political organization” as defined in section 1-1-104 (24) for purposes of the “Uniform Election Code of 1992”, articles 1 to 13 of this title.

(15) “Political party” shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 2 (13) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

(16) “Small donor committee” shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 2 (14) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

(16.5) “Spending” means funds expended influencing or attempting to influence the selection, nomination, election, or appointment of any individual to any state or local public office in the state and includes, without limitation, any purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit, or gift of money or anything of value by any political organization, a contract, promise, or agreement to expend funds made or entered into by any political organization, or any electioneering communication by any political organization.

(17) “Subsidiary” means a business entity having more than half of its stock owned by another entity or person, or a business entity of which a majority interest is controlled by another person or entity.

(18) “Unexpended campaign contributions”shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 2 (15) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

 

 

Source: Initiated 96: Entire article R&RE, effective upon proclamation of the Governor, January 15, 1997.L. 98: (1) added and (8) amended, p. 223, § 1, effective April 10; (1.5) amended and (14) added, p. 954, § 1, effective May 27.L. 99: (5) amended, p. 1390, § 12, effective June 4.L. 2000: (1.3), (4)(a)(V), and (4.5) added and (4)(a)(III), (10)(b), and (12) amended, pp. 122, 123, § § 2, 3, effective March 15; (8) amended, p. 1724, § 1, effective June 1.L. 2002: (8)(a)(I) amended and (8)(a)(III) added, p. 198, § 1, effective April 3; (1.5) and (2) amended, p. 1576, § 1, effective July 1.Initiated 2002: Entire section repealed, effective upon proclamation of the Governor (see editor’s note, (2)).L. 2003: Entire section RC&RE, p. 2156, § 1, effective June 3.L. 2007: (7) amended, p. 1766, § 1, effective June 1; (6)(c), (14.5), and (16.5) added, pp. 1225, 1224, § § 2, 1, effective July 1.L. 2009: (1.3) and (1.5) added, (HB 09-1153), ch. 174, p. 774, § 1, effective September 1.L. 2010: (7) amended and (7.3), (7.5), (10.5), (11.5), (12.5), and (12.7) added, (SB 10-203), ch. 269, p. 1229, § 2, effective May 25; (12) amended, (HB 10-1370), ch. 270, p. 1241, § 4, effective January 1, 2011.L. 2011: (12)(c) amended, (HB 11-1303), ch. 264, p. 1148, § 2, effective August 10.

 

Editor’s note: (1) This section is similar to former § 1-45-103 as it existed prior to 1996.

(2) (a) Subsection (4) of section 1 of article V of the state constitution provides that initiated and referred measures shall take effect from and after the official declaration of the vote thereon by the proclamation of the Governor. The measure enacting article XXVIII of the state constitution takes effect upon proclamation of the vote by the Governor. The Governor’s proclamation was issued on December 20, 2002. However section 13 of the measure enacting article XXVIII of the state constitution provides that the effective date of article XXVIII is December 6, 2002.

(b) This section was repealed by an initiated measure that was adopted by the people in the general election held November 5, 2002. Section 12 of article XXVIII provides for the repeal of this section. For the text of the initiative and the vote count, see Session Laws of Colorado 2003, p. 3609.

Cross references: (1) For the legislative declaration in the 2010 act amending subsection (7) and adding subsections (7.3), (7.5), (10.5), (11.5), (12.5), and (12.7), see section 1 of chapter 269, Session Laws of Colorado 2010.

(2) For the legislative declaration in the 2010 act amending subsection (12), see section 1 of chapter 270, Session Laws of Colorado 2010.

(3) For the legislative declaration in the 2011 act amending subsection (12)(c), see section 1 of chapter 264, Session Laws of Colorado 2011.
 
ANNOTATION

Annotator’s note. Since § 1-45-103 is similar to § 1-45-103 as it existed prior to its repeal in 2002, relevant cases construing that provision and its predecessors have been included in the annotations to this section.

It is apparent from the plain language of subsection (2) that a candidate committee may be comprised of one person only and that the candidate acting alone may be a candidate committee. Thus, a candidate committee who acts alone for the purpose of receiving campaign contributions or making campaign expenditures is a candidate committee subject to the disclosure requirements of this article. Therefore, the expenditures made by a candidate from the candidate’s personal funds before certification of his or her committee were either contributions to the ultimately certified candidate committee or expenditures by a separate campaign committee composed of the candidate alone. Hlavec v. Davidson, 64 P.3d 881 (Colo. App. 2002) (decided under section that was repealed by article XXVIII of the state constitution).

Court’s interpretation of the term “candidate committee” to include expenditures of personal money by the candidate on his or her campaign does not limit the amount of money a candidate could personally spend on his or her campaign in violation of the first amendment. The act does not specifically address whether a candidate’s personal expenditures are contributions. However, in light of Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976), the court holds that the definition of “contribution” contained in subsection (4) does not include a candidate’s expenditures of personal funds and contributions made by the candidate to his or her own candidate committee. Accordingly, the court rejected candidate’s first amendment argument. Hlavec v. Davidson, 64 P.3d 881 (Colo. App. 2002) (decided under section that was repealed by article XXVIII of the state constitution).

Phrases unconstitutional. The phrase in subsection (7), “which unambiguously refer to any specific public office or candidate for such office, but does not include expenditures made by persons, other than political parties and political committees, in the regular course and scope of their business and political messages sent solely to their members[,]” is unconstitutional under the first amendment. Citizens for Responsible Gov’t State Political Action Comm. v. Davidson, 236 F.3d 1174 (10th Cir. 2000).

The phrase in subsection (11), “or which unambiguously refers to such candidate[,]” is unconstitutional under the first amendment. Citizens for Responsible Gov’t State Political Action Comm. v. Davidson, 236 F.3d 1174 (10th Cir. 2000).

The court concluded that the unconstitutional phrases were severable and declared subsections (7) and (11) invalid only insofar as they reach beyond that which may constitutionally be regulated. Citizens for Responsible Gov’t State Political Action Comm. v. Davidson, 236 F.3d 1174 (10th Cir. 2000).

Term “independent expenditure” in subsection (7) permits the regulation of only those expenditures that are used for communications that expressly advocate the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate. This standard includes the words and phrases listed in Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976), and other substantially similar or synonymous words. This approach remains focused on actual words, as contrasted with images, symbols, or other contextual factors, provides adequate notice in light of due process concerns, and strikes an appropriate balance between trying to preserve the goals of campaign finance reform and protecting political speech. League of Women Voters v. Davidson, 23 P.3d 1266 (Colo. App. 2001).

None of the advertisements of so-called educational committee at issue amounted to “express advocacy” as that term is applied in Buckley and progeny and, therefore, so-called educational committee was not subject to the requirements of the Fair Campaign Practices Act. League of Women Voters v. Davidson, 23 P.3d 1266 (Colo. App. 2001).

The term “issue” in subsection (8) includes an initiative that has gone through the title-setting process, but has not been formally certified for the election ballot. To construe the term to include only measures actually placed on the ballot would frustrate the purposes of the Campaign Reform Act by allowing groups to raise and spend money, without limit and without disclosure to the public, to convince electors to sign or not to sign a particular petition, thus significantly influencing its success or failure. Colo. for Family Values v. Meyer, 936 P.2d 631 (Colo. App. 1997).

Telephone opinion poll was not “electioneering” and thus did not constitute an “electioneering communication” within the meaning of subsection (9) of this section and § 6 of article XXVIII of the state constitution. In giving effect to the intent of the electorate, court gives term “communication” its plain and ordinary meaning. Court relies upon dictionary definitions of “communication” that contemplate imparting a message to, rather than having mere contact with, another party. In reviewing scripts used by telephone opinion pollster, “communication” occurred because “facts, information, thoughts, or opinions” were “imparted, transmitted, interchanged, expressed, or exchanged” by pollster to those it called. Telephone opinion pollster, therefore, communicated information to members of the electorate during its opinion poll. Harwood v. Senate Majority Fund, LLC, 141 P.3d 962 (Colo. App. 2006).

Telephone opinion poll, however, did not satisfy meaning of electioneering. Colorado electorate intended article XXVIII to regulate communication that expresses “electorate advocacy” and tends to “influence the outcome of Colorado elections”. This conclusion is reinforced by plain and ordinary meaning of term “electioneering”. Court relies upon dictionary definitions suggesting that “electioneering” is defined by such activities as taking an active part in an election campaign, campaigning for one’s own election, or trying to sway public opinion especially by the use of propaganda and that “campaigning” means influencing the public to support a particular candidate, ticket, or measure. Here, telephone opinion poll did not seek to influence voters or sway public opinion but instead merely asked neutral questions to collect data and measure public opinion. Accordingly, telephone opinion poll did not constitute an “electioneering communication” under subsection (9) of this section and article XXVIII of the state constitution. Harwood v. Senate Majority Fund, LLC, 141 P.3d 962 (Colo. App. 2006).

The term “issue committee” covers only those issue committees that were formed for the purpose of supporting or opposing a ballot initiative. An association that was formed and operated for purposes other than “accepting contributions or making expenditures to support or oppose any ballot issue or ballot question” does not become an “issue committee” as defined in this section if, at a future point in time, it engages in those activities with regard to a specific ballot issue or ballot question. Common Sense Alliance v. Davidson, 995 P.2d 748 (Colo. 2000).

A “political committee” is formed when two or more persons associate themselves with the original purpose of making independent expenditures. Citizens for Responsible Gov’t State Political Action Comm. v. Davidson, 236 F.3d 1174 (10th Cir. 2000).

The term “political committee” in subsection (10) includes a for-profit corporation which makes contributions, contributions in kind, or expenditures to or on behalf of state political campaigns out of its ordinary corporate treasury. Therefore, such corporation is required to file a statement of organization, to report its contributions, contributions in kind, and expenditures, and otherwise to comply with any filing and reporting requirements of the “Campaign Reform Act of 1974”. Colo. Common Cause v. Meyer, 758 P.2d 153 (Colo. 1988) (decided prior to 1988 amendment to subsection (10)).

While the stated purposes for the formation of an organization may be one criterion upon which to determine whether it is a “political committee”, such purposes are not conclusive. To so hold would permit regulable conduct to escape regulation merely because the stated purposes were misleading, ambiguous, fraudulent, or all three. In addition, such a holding would exalt form over substance and would almost entirely eviscerate the Fair Campaign Practices Act and make a mockery of legitimate attempts at campaign finance reform. League of Women Voters v. Davidson, 23 P.3d 1266 (Colo. App. 2001).

The use of the disjunctive term “or” in subsection (11) renders the definition of “political message” applicable to messages that “unambiguously refer to a candidate”, even if such messages do not also “advocate the election or defeat” of that candidate. Citizens for Responsible Gov’t State Political Action Comm. v. Davidson, 236 F.3d 1174 (10th Cir. 2000).

To qualify as a political message under subsection (11), a message need only: (1) Be delivered by telephone, any print or electronic media, or other written material, and (2) either (a) advocate the election or defeat of any candidate or (b) unambiguously refer to such candidate. Citizens for Responsible Gov’t State Political Action Comm. v. Davidson, 236 F.3d 1174 (10th Cir. 2000).

Voter guides that unambiguously refer to specific candidates but do not expressly advocate the election or defeat of any candidate constitute “political messages” as defined in subsection (11). Therefore, the funds expended to produce and disseminate the voter guides are subject to regulation as “independent expenditures” as the term is defined in subsection (7). Citizens for Responsible Gov’t State Political Action Comm. v. Davidson, 236 F.3d 1174 (10th Cir. 2000).

“Expressly advocating” for purposes of the definition of expenditure in subsection (10) is limited to speech that explicitly exhorts the viewer or reader to vote for or against a candidate in an upcoming election using either the “magic words” described in Buckly v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 44 n.52 (1976), or substantially similar words. The court declined to adopt a functional equivalence test for “express advocacy” that would be difficult to apply and unconstitutionally chill political speech. None of the 17 ads at issue contained any of the magic words or substantially similar synonyms. Accordingly, because none of the ads constituted “expenditures”, neither of the two political organizations that distributed the ads were subject to regulation as “political committees”. Colo. Ethics v. Senate Majority Fund, LLC, 2012 CO 12, 269 P.3d 1248.

Administrative law judge (ALJ) did not err in concluding that definition of “expenditures” did not apply to metropolitan district boards. Respondents had argued that the metropolitan districts qualified as “persons” that could expend payments on behalf of issue committee supporting ballot issue. Even if the definition of “person” could be stretched to cover political subdivisions of the state such as metropolitan districts, respondents failed to explain how the payments at issue were “made with the prior knowledge and consent of an agent” of the issue committee that was not yet formed in order to bring such payments within the definition of “expenditure”. Skruch v. Highlands Ranch Metro. Dists., 107 P.3d 1140 (Colo. App. 2004).

ALJ did not err by interpreting “expenditure” to occur when a payment is made and when there is a contractual agreement and the amount is determined. The use of the disjunctive “or” in the definition of “expenditure” indicates that an expenditure is made if either criterion is met after the ballot title is submitted. Skruch v. Highlands Ranch Metro. Dists., 107 P.3d 1140 (Colo. App. 2004).

Order by ALJ assessing penalty against nonprofit association engaging in political advocacy based upon determination by ALJ that association was a political committee is vacated and case remanded. Under controlling precedent, regulation under campaign finance laws should be tied to groups controlled by candidates or which have a “major purpose” of electing candidates. Here, record does not permit a determination of whether major purpose test satisfied as to association. On remand, ALJ instructed to determine whether association’s “major purpose” in 2004 was the nomination or election of candidates. Alliance for Colorado’s Families v. Gilbert, 172 P.3d 964 (Colo. App. 2007).

Court rejects interpretation of § 2(5)(a)(IV) of article XXVIII of state constitution and subsection (6)(a) of this section under which a city employee would be barred from providing to a candidate for elected office anything of value that had the effect of promoting the candidate’s election. ALJ correctly construed the relevant phrase “for the purpose of” § 2(5)(a)(IV) of article XXVIII of state constitution in accordance with its plain meaning to indicate an anticipated result that is intended or desired. Court rejects construction under which phrase would mean “with the effect of”. Such a construction would improperly conflate the distinct concepts of purpose and effect. Such an interpretation would also lead to unintended consequences far beyond the scope of issues presented in the case. CEW v. City & County of Broomfield, 203 P.3d 623 (Colo. App. 2009).

Since effect of city employees’ actions, rather than their intent, is to be examined, court further rejects argument that intent is to be gauged by objective rather than subjective criteria. Inquiry into purpose requires examination of the intent of the person alleged to have made a campaign contribution. ALJ considered evidence concerning the city employees’ intent and determined, on the basis of substantial evidence in the record, that organization bringing campaign finance complaint had not met its burden of proving that the employees provided services for the purpose of promoting a campaign even though employees knew information would be helpful to the candidates to whom the information was provided. Organization’s interpretation improperly equates knowledge of the possible effects of one’s actions with an intent to achieve a particular result. Accordingly, ALJ correctly determined that city’s contribution of staff time was not “for the purpose of” promoting a political campaign. CEW v. City & County of Broomfield, 203 P.3d 623 (Colo. App. 2009).

Payment by unions of staff salaries for time spent organizing walks to distribute political literature and payments of other costs associated with related political activities did not constitute prohibited expenditures in violation of § 3(4)(a) of article XXVIII of the state constitution. Whether payments made by the union are prohibited as “expenditures” depends upon whether they are exempt from regulation by the membership communication exception in § 2(8)(b)(III) of article XXVIII of the state constitution as payments for “any communication solely to members and their families”. The membership communication exception must be construed broadly to reflect the plain language of this constitutional provision and to satisfy the demands of the first amendment. The membership communication exception as construed applies to most of the union’s activities in this case. To the extent that the challenged union activities are not embraced by the membership communication exception, the administrative law judge correctly held that person filing campaign finance complaint failed to prove facts demonstrating that an expenditure was made. Colo. Educ. Ass’n v. Rutt, 184 P.3d 65 (Colo. 2008).

The membership communication exception found in § 2(8)(b)(III) of article XXVIII of the state constitution must be extended to and embraced within the definition of “contribution”. To hold otherwise nullifies the exception. The same conduct may not be protected by the membership communication exception to expenditures, that is, treated as an exempt expenditure, yet, at the same time, be prohibited as a nonexempt contribution. Such a result would be contrary to the intent of the electorate and constitute an unreasonable and disharmonious application of this article. Colo. Educ. Ass’n v. Rutt, 184 P.3d 65 (Colo. 2008).

Unions’ challenged conduct does not meet the pertinent definitions of a contribution under § 2(5)(a)(II) and (5)(a)(IV) of article XXVIII of the state constitution and subsection (6) of this section. Facts may reasonably be viewed in two contradictory ways: One advancing the union’s argument that the payment of union staff salaries for organizing political events were paid for the benefit of the unions and their members and thus exempt from regulation; the other that the payments constituted payments made to a third party for the benefit of the candidate or anything of value given indirectly to the candidate and, thus, were prohibited contributions. When the first amendment is at stake, the tie goes to the speaker rather than to censorship and regulation. On the facts of this case, the unions did not make any prohibited contributions in violation of § 3(4)(a) of article XXVIII of the state constitution. Colo. Educ. Ass’n v. Rutt, 184 P.3d 65 (Colo. 2008).

Because coordination, as a concept or as a matter of law, is not required to protect the rights of the maker of a contribution under the circumstances of this case, court declines to impose a requirement of coordination on the definition of contribution to satisfy first amendment requirements. While a finding of coordination may be necessary to protect the recipient of an indirect contribution from unwittingly violating this article, that issue is not raised by this case. Colo. Educ. Ass’n v. Rutt, 184 P.3d 65 (Colo. 2008).

Television advertisements urging voters to oppose incumbent member met the definition of electioneering communications under § 2(7)(a) of article XXVIII of state constitution. Unambiguous reference to “any communication” in definition does not distinguish between express advocacy and advocacy that is not express. Further, subsection (7)(a) is triggered when a communication is made within 30 days before a primary election or 60 days before a general election, without regard to the communication’s purpose. Colo. Citizens for Ethics in Gov’t v. Comm. for the Am. Dream, 187 P.3d 1207 (Colo. App. 2008).

Regular business exception in § 2(7)(b)(III) of article XXVIII of the state constitution is limited to persons whose business is to broadcast, print, publicly display, directly mail, or hand deliver candidate-specific communications within the named candidate’s district as a service rather than to influence elections. Wording of exception shows that the phrase “in the regular course and scope of their business” does not apply to political committees. Accordingly, political committee does not come within the regular business exception. Colo. Citizens for Ethics in Gov’t v. Comm. for the Am. Dream, 187 P.3d 1207 (Colo. App. 2008).

A judicial officer seeking retention is a candidate for purposes of the definition of “candidate” in subsection (2). Further, a judicial retention vote is an election for purposes of the definition of “political committee” in subsection (14). Colo. Ethics Watch v. Clear the Bench, 2012 COA 42, 277 P.3d 931.

An organization that supports or opposes the retention of a judicial officer is a political committee because it supports or opposes the election of a candidate and because it is recognized as such by § 1-45-109 (1)(a)(I). Organization accepted contributions and made expenditures of over $200 to oppose the retention of three justices of the Colorado supreme court. It is, therefore, a political committee. Organization cannot be both a political committee and issue committee because the two are defined under subsections (10) and (12) of art. XXVIII of the state constitution to be mutually exclusive. Colo. Ethics Watch v. Clear the Bench, 2012 COA 42, 277 P.3d 931.

The language in art. VI, § 25, of state constitution stating that “a question shall be placed on the . . . ballot” does not render judicial retention a “ballot question” for purposes of this article. A judicial retention vote is not a “ballot question” because it does not involve a citizen petition or referred measure. Because a judicial retention vote does not meet the definition of a “ballot issue” or “ballot question” contained in subsections (1.3) and (1.5), organization opposing retention of three justices is not an issue committee under subsection (12)(a). Colo. Ethics Watch v. Clear the Bench, 2012 COA 42, 277 P.3d 931.

Secretary of state’s proposed rule, 8 Colo. Code Regs. 1505-6, § 1.12, intended to fill a gap in subsection (12)(b) of this section by defining “major purpose” in the definition of issue committee, is arbitrary and capricious. The rule imposed a requirement that, in order to determine whether an issue committee has a “major purpose” under the constitutional and statutory definitions, a demonstrated pattern of conduct is established where the organization’s annual expenditures in support of or in opposition to ballot issues or ballot questions exceed 30% of the organization’s total spending during the same period. The rule is arbitrary and capricious because the 30% threshold is unsupported by competent evidence in the record. Even if there was competent evidence in the record to support a 30% threshold, this threshold would not resolve the ambiguity as to how a “pattern of conduct” must be demonstrated. Thus, the rule’s 30% threshold is manifestly contrary to subsection (12)(b)’s use of the phrase “pattern of conduct” in its definition of major purpose. Colo. Ethics Watch v. Gessler, 2013 COA 172M, — P.3d –.

Secretary of state’s proposed rule, 8 Colo. Code Regs. 1505-6, § 1.18.2, designed to fill a gap in the constitutional definition of “political committee” in subsection (14) of this section by explaining precisely how the judicially created “major purpose” test limits what groups qualify as political committees, is invalid because the constitutional definition is clear and unambiguous: Political committees are defined by their contributions or expenditures, not by an additional major purpose test. Because the provisions are clear, there is no gap for the secretary to fill, and he does not have the authority to add a “major purpose” requirement, even in an attempt to codify judicial precedent. Colo. Ethics Watch v. Gessler, 2013 COA 172M, — P.3d –.

District court correctly invalidated secretary of state’s proposed rules, 8 Colo. Code Regs. 1505-6, § § 7.2 and 1.10, designed to fill a gap in subsection (14.5) of this section by narrowing the definition of the phrase “political organization” to conform to federal judicial precedent. The secretary’s addition in § 7.2 of the rules of a requirement that a section 527 entity must have a major purpose of influencing state elections contradicts the clear and unambiguous language of subsection (14.5) of this section. This section does not look to the purpose of the entity but to the actual activities of the entity. The secretary’s addition in § 1.10 of the rules of an “express advocacy” requirement also contradicts the clear and unambiguous language of this section. These rules thus contradict the clear and unambiguous language of this section by improperly eliminating the statutory distinction between a political organization and a political committee. Colo. Ethics Watch v. Gessler, 2013 COA 172M, — P.3d –.

Annotation: April 22, 2016 5:11 pm

The Colorado Court of Appeals in CIW v. Coloradans for a Better Future (No. 14CA2073) creates a “substantial compliance” standard for campaign finance reporting.

Definition [Subsidiary]

A business entity having more than half of its stock owned by another entity or person, or a business entity of which a majority interest is controlled by another person or entity. C.R.S. § 1-45-103.

Definition [Corporation]

A domestic corporation incorporated under and subject to the “Colorado Business Corporation Act”, articles 101 to 117 of title 7, C.R.S., a domestic nonprofit corporation incorporated under and subject to the “Colorado Revised Nonprofit Corporation Act”, articles 121 to 137 of title 7, C.R.S., or any corporation incorporated under and subject to the laws of another state. For purposes of this article, “domestic corporation” shall mean a for-profit or nonprofit corporation incorporated under and subject to the laws of this state, and “nondomestic corporation” shall mean a corporation incorporated under and subject to the laws of another state or foreign country. For purposes of this article, “corporation” includes the parent of a subsidiary corporation or any subsidiaries of the parent, as applicable. C.R.S. § 1-45-103.

Definition [Expenditure]

Any purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit, or gift of money by any person for the purpose of expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate or supporting or opposing a ballot issue or ballot question. An expenditure is made when the actual spending occurs or when there is a contractual agreement requiring such spending and the amount is determined.

(b) “Expenditure” does not include:

(I) Any news articles, editorial endorsements, opinion or commentary writings, or letters to the editor printed in a newspaper, magazine or other periodical not owned or controlled by a candidate or political party;

(II) Any editorial endorsements or opinions aired by a broadcast facility not owned or controlled by a candidate or political party;

(III) Spending by persons, other than political parties, political committees and small donor committees, in the regular course and scope of their business or payments by a membership organization for any communication solely to members and their families;

(IV) Any transfer by a membership organization of a portion of a member’s dues to a small donor committee or political committee sponsored by such membership organization; or payments made by a corporation or labor organization for the costs of establishing, administering, or soliciting funds from its own employees or members for a political committee or small donor committee.

Section 2(8) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

Definition [Contribution]

(a) (I) The payment, loan, pledge, gift, or advance of money, or guarantee of a loan, made to any candidate committee, issue committee, political committee, small donor committee, or political party;

(II) Any payment made to a third party for the benefit of any candidate committee, issue committee, political committee, small donor committee, or political party;

(III) The fair market value of any gift or loan of property made to any candidate committee, issue committee, political committee, small donor committee or political party;

(IV) Anything of value given, directly or indirectly, to a candidate for the purpose of promoting the candidate’s nomination, retention, recall, or election.

(b) “Contribution” does not include services provided without compensation by individuals volunteering their time on behalf of a candidate, candidate committee, political committee, small donor committee, issue committee, or political party; a transfer by a membership organization of a portion of a member’s dues to a small donor committee or political committee sponsored by such membership organization; or payments by a corporation or labor organization for the costs of establishing, administering, and soliciting funds from its own employees or members for a political committee or small donor committee.

Section 2(5) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

 

C.R.S. § 1-45-103 further adds:

(b) “Contribution” includes, with regard to a contribution for which the contributor receives compensation or consideration of less than equivalent value to such contribution, including, but not limited to, items of perishable or nonpermanent value, goods, supplies, services, or participation in a campaign-related event, an amount equal to the value in excess of such compensation or consideration as determined by the candidate committee.

(c) “Contribution” also includes:

(I) Any payment, loan, pledge, gift, advance of money, or guarantee of a loan made to any political organization;

(II) Any payment made to a third party on behalf of and with the knowledge of the political organization; or

(III) The fair market value of any gift or loan of property made to any political organization.

C.R.S. § 1-45-103.

Definition [United States]

Used in the territorial sense, means the several states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, and any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.

Definition [Issue committee]

Any person, other than a natural person, or any group of two or more persons, including natural persons:

(I) That has a major purpose of supporting or opposing any ballot issue or ballot question; or

(II) That has accepted or made contributions or expenditures in excess of two hundred dollars to support or oppose any ballot issue or ballot question.

(b) “Issue committee” does not include political parties, political committees, small donor committees, or candidate committees as otherwise defined in this section.

(c) An issue committee shall be considered open and active until affirmatively closed by such committee or by action of the appropriate authority.

Section 2(10) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

 

(b) For purposes of section 2 (10) (a) (I) of article XXVIII of the state constitution, “major purpose” means support of or opposition to a ballot issue or ballot question that is reflected by:

(I) An organization’s specifically identified objectives in its organizational documents at the time it is established or as such documents are later amended; or

(II) An organization’s demonstrated pattern of conduct based upon its:

(A) Annual expenditures in support of or opposition to a ballot issue or ballot question; or

(B) Production or funding, or both, of written or broadcast communications, or both, in support of or opposition to a ballot issue or ballot question.

(c) The provisions of paragraph (b) of this subsection (12) are intended to clarify, based on the decision of the Colorado court of appeals in Independence Institute v. Coffman, 209 P.3d 1130 (Colo. App. 2008), cert. denied, — U.S. —, 130 S. Ct. 165, 175 L. Ed. 479 (2009), section 2 (10) (a) (I) of article XXVIII of the state constitution and not to make a substantive change to said section 2 (10) (a) (I).

C.R.S. § 1-45-103.

Definition [Candidate committee]

A person, including the candidate, or persons with the common purpose of receiving contributions or making expenditures under the authority of a candidate. A contribution to a candidate shall be deemed a contribution to the candidate’s candidate committee. A candidate shall have only one candidate committee. A candidate committee shall be considered open and active until affirmatively closed by the candidate or by action of the secretary of state. Section 2(3) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

Definition [Political committee]

Any person, other than a natural person, or any group of two or more persons, including natural persons that have accepted or made contributions or expenditures in excess of $200 to support or oppose the nomination or election of one or more candidates.

(b) “Political committee” does not include political parties, issue committees, or candidate committees as otherwise defined in this section.

(c) For the purposes of this article, the following are treated as a single political committee:

(I) All political committees established, financed, maintained, or controlled by a single corporation or its subsidiaries;

(II) All political committees established, financed, maintained, or controlled by a single labor organization; except that, any political committee established, financed, maintained, or controlled by a local unit of the labor organization which has the authority to make a decision independently of the state and national units as to which candidates to support or oppose shall be deemed separate from the political committee of the state and national unit;

(III) All political committees established, financed, maintained, or controlled by the same political party;

(IV) All political committees established, financed, maintained, or controlled by substantially the same group of persons.

Section 2(12) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

Definition [Political subdivision]

A governing subdivision of the state, including counties, municipalities, school districts, and special districts. C.R.S. § 1-7.5-103.

Definition [Political organization]

Any group of registered electors who, by petition for nomination of an unaffiliated candidate as provided in section 1-4-802, places upon the official general election ballot nominees for public office. C.R.S. § 1-1-104.

 

Alternate Meaning for Art. 45:

 

A political organization defined in section 527 (e) (1) of the federal “Internal Revenue Code of 1986”, as amended, that is engaged in influencing or attempting to influence the selection, nomination, election, or appointment of any individual to any state or local public office in the state and that is exempt, or intends to seek any exemption, from taxation pursuant to section 527 of the internal revenue code. “Political organization” shall not be construed to have the same meaning as “political organization” as defined in section 1-1-104 (24) for purposes of the “Uniform Election Code of 1992”, articles 1 to 13 of this title.

 

C.R.S. § 1-45-103

Definition [Independent expenditure]

An expenditure that is not controlled by or coordinated with any candidate or agent of such candidate. Expenditures that are controlled by or coordinated with a candidate or candidate’s agent are deemed to be both contributions by the maker of the expenditures, and expenditures by the candidate committee. Section 2(9) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

Definition [Electioneering communication]

Any communication broadcasted by television or radio, printed in a newspaper or on a billboard, directly mailed or delivered by hand to personal residences or otherwise distributed that:

(I) Unambiguously refers to any candidate; and

(II) Is broadcasted, printed, mailed, delivered, or distributed within thirty days before a primary election or sixty days before a general election; and

(III) Is broadcasted to, printed in a newspaper distributed to, mailed to, delivered by hand to, or otherwise distributed to an audience that includes members of the electorate for such public office.

(b) “Electioneering communication” does not include:

(I) Any news articles, editorial endorsements, opinion or commentary writings, or letters to the editor printed in a newspaper, magazine or other periodical not owned or controlled by a candidate or political party;

(II) Any editorial endorsements or opinions aired by a broadcast facility not owned or controlled by a candidate or political party;

(III) Any communication by persons made in the regular course and scope of their business or any communication made by a membership organization solely to members of such organization and their families;

(IV) Any communication that refers to any candidate only as part of the popular name of a bill or statute.

Section 2(7) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

Definition [State]

A state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.

Definition [Ballot]

(a) A federal write-in absentee ballot;

(b) A ballot specifically prepared or distributed for use by a covered voter in accordance with this article; or

(c) A ballot cast by a covered voter in accordance with this article.

(2) “Covered voter” means:

(a) A uniformed-service voter defined in paragraph (a) of subsection (9) of this section who is a resident of this state but who is absent from this state by reason of active duty and who otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements;

(b) An overseas voter who, before leaving the United States, was last eligible to vote in this state and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements;

(c) An overseas voter who, before leaving the United States, would have been last eligible to vote in this state had the voter then been of voting age and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements; or

(d) An overseas voter who was born outside the United States, is not described in paragraph (b) or (c) of this subsection (2), and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements if the last place where a parent, legal guardian, spouse, or civil union partner of the voter was, or under this article would have been, eligible to vote before leaving the United States is within this state.

C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.

Definition [Person]

Any natural person, partnership, committee, association, corporation, labor organization, political party, or other organization or group of persons. Section 2(11) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

Definition [Election]

Any election under the “Uniform Election Code of 1992” or the “Colorado Municipal Election Code of 1965”, article 10 of title 31, C.R.S. C.R.S. § 1-7.5-103.

Definition [Donation]

(a) (I) The payment, loan, pledge, gift, or advance of money, or the guarantee of a loan, made to any person for the purpose of making an independent expenditure;

(II) Any payment made to a third party that relates to, and is made for the benefit of, any person that makes an independent expenditure;

(III) The fair market value of any gift or loan of property that is given to any person for the purpose of making an independent expenditure; or

(IV) Anything of value given, directly or indirectly, to any person for the purpose of making an independent expenditure.

(b) “Donation” shall not include a transfer by a membership organization of a portion of a member’s dues for an independent expenditure sponsored by such membership organization.

C.R.S. § 1-45-103.

Definition [Spending]

Funds expended influencing or attempting to influence the selection, nomination, election, or appointment of any individual to any state or local public office in the state and includes, without limitation, any purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit, or gift of money or anything of value by any political organization, a contract, promise, or agreement to expend funds made or entered into by any political organization, or any electioneering communication by any political organization. C.R.S. § 1-45-103.

Definition [Secretary]

The Colorado secretary of state. C.R.S. § 1-1.5-102.

Definition [Committee]

The committee of signers described in section 1-12-108(2). C.R.S. § 1-12-100.5.

Definition [Candidate]

Any person who seeks nomination or election to any state or local public office that is to be voted on in this state at any primary election, general election, school district election, special district election, or municipal election. “Candidate” also includes a judge or justice of any court of record who seeks to be retained in office pursuant to the provisions of section 25 of article VI. A person is a candidate for election if the person has publicly announced an intention to seek election to public office or retention of a judicial office and thereafter has received a contribution or made an expenditure in support of the candidacy. A person remains a candidate for purposes of this article so long as the candidate maintains a registered candidate committee. A person who maintains a candidate committee after an election cycle, but who has not publicly announced an intention to seek election to public office in the next or any subsequent election cycle, is a candidate for purposes of this article. Section 2(2) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

Cases

Colorado Cases

Out-of-State Cases

Case State: colorado

Case Name: Hlavec v. Davidson

Citation: 64 P.3d 881 (Colo. App. 2002)

Year: 2002

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/a6abff1cdb7f1d0a9496f242a2313205

Case Summary: Holding that candidate had to report campaign expenditures made from his personal funds; the Fair Campaign Practices Act was not unconstitutional with its restriction on the amount a candidate can spend from personal funds on his own campaign; and the Act was not unconstitutionally vague as to who must report.

Case State: colorado

Case Name: League of Women Voters v. Davidson

Citation: 23 P.3d 1266 (Colo. App. 2001)

Year: 2001

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/c086848dae3ee69a41e10497b8b5f2fd

Case Summary: Holding that the fact that being a political committee was not a stated purpose in a nonprofit corporation's articles of incorporation did not mean that the corporation was not a political committee under the Fair Campaign Practices Act; for a political advertisement to constitute “express advocacy,” advertisement must expressly advocate election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate; and leaflet that contained photographs of Republican candidates, showed their political positions, and requested “Please make sure to Vote!” was not express advocacy.

Case State: colorado

Case Name: Colo. for Family Values v. Meyer

Citation: 936 P.2d 631 (Colo. App. 1997)

Year: 1997

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/8d9e1273ee07f3df08d6bdec4eeb41c1

Case Summary: Holding that initiative that has gone through the title setting process but has not been formally certified for the ballot is still an “issue” under the Campaign Reform Act.

Case State: colorado

Case Name: Harwood v. Senate Majority Fund, LLC

Citation: 141 P.3d 962 (Colo. App. 2006)

Year: 2006

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/639e96d54b8593c29f34ecdff1e3a63e

Case Summary: Holding that political organization was not required to disclose its expenditure on a telephone poll, because the poll was not an "electioneering communication" under the Campaign and Political Finance Amendment; the poll was geared toward measuring public opinion and not toward influencing voters.

Case State: colorado

Case Name: Common Sense Alliance v. Davidson

Citation: 995 P.2d 748 (Colo. 2000)

Year: 2000

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/8a4020d8e28ab375146a087a715fa803

Case Summary: Holding that Fair Campaign Practices Act covers only “issue committees” that were formed for the purpose of supporting or opposing a ballot initiative, so organizations formed for another purpose that later commit to a ballot issue are not within the statute.

Case State: colorado

Case Name: Colo. Ethics Watch v. Senate Majority Fund, LLC

Citation: 269 P.3d 1248 (Colo. 2012)

Year: 2012

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/6d2dd013c0d4cfd99391a156d157a4e5

Case Summary: Holding that "express advocacy” within the meaning of the campaign finance provision of the state constitution was limited to speech that contained either “magic words” from Buckley v. Valeo or substantially similar words which explicitly tell the viewer or reader to vote for or against a particular candidate; advertisements that identified candidates by name or picture, favorably presented those candidates' positions, and encouraged voters to call the candidates to thank them were not “express advocacy” under the state constitution; and advertisement stating that local leaders endorsed a candidate for office was not “express advocacy” under the state constitution.

Case State: colorado

Case Name: Skruch v. Highlands Ranch Metro. Dists.

Citation: 107 P.3d 1140 (Colo. App. 2004)

Year: 2004

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/8e552475dd6d33d6e865ae7e2f1dba86

Case Summary: Holding that brochure urged electors to vote in favor of ballot measure; the definition of “expenditure” in Fair Campaign Practices Act did not apply to metropolitan districts; and an expenditure occurred if either actual payment was made or there was a contractual agreement and determined amount.

Case State: colorado

Case Name: Alliance for Colorado’s Families v. Gilbert

Citation: 172 P.3d 964 (Colo. App. 2007)

Year: 2007

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/f556291fcaf60ce2ee5067756ee36510

Case Summary: Holding that the definition of “political committee” in the State Constitution's Campaign Finance Amendment as applied would violate the nonprofit advocacy association's federal First Amendment freedom of speech and association rights, if the association's major purpose was not the election of candidates.

Case State: colorado

Case Name: CEW v. City and County of Broomfield

Citation: 203 P.3d 623 (Colo. App. 2009)

Year: 2009

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/b44df78cdb59bcacf66a290db065d856

Case Summary: Holding that city did not make a prohibited “contribution” under the Fair Campaign Practices Act to a campaign for public office by providing public information to candidates for use at public forum.

Case State: colorado

Case Name: Colo. Educ. Ass’n v. Rutt

Citation: 184 P.3d 65 (Colo. 2008)

Year: 2008

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/9c6241bb8c134ff91d425e0e8382608c

Case Summary: Holding that citizens failed to establish that labor organizations made expenditures directed at non-union members; payments made by the labor organizations for the salaries of staff employees who organized walks were exempt from regulation under the membership communication exception in the Campaign and Political Finance Amendment; payments by labor organizations for costs incurred in organizing walks were not prohibited “contributions"; and limited coordination that occurred between labor organizations and the candidate did not establish that the organizations' conduct was a “contribution.”

Case State: colorado

Case Name: Colo. Citizens for Ethics in Gov’t v. Comm. for the Am. Dream

Citation: 187 P.3d 1207 (Colo. App. 2008)

Year: 2008

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/ff6d0c5bea644bbf487ae172deee07cb

Case Summary: Holding that Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) did not abuse his discretion by determining that documents evidencing political committee's production and airing of television commercials opposing reelection of political candidate had been sufficiently authenticated; advertisements were electioneering communications under the Campaign and Political Finance Amendment to the Colorado Constitution, rather than express advocacy; advertisements did not fall under “communication made in the regular course and scope of business” exception to electioneering communication; political committee, which failed to identify political candidate in a separate electioneering report, did not satisfy its reporting requirements through its contribution and expenditure reports; ALJ had jurisdiction to impose a penalty due to political committee's failure to comply with reporting requirements; voluntary dismissal by citizens group of its membership contribution claim was not a defense to political committee's claim for attorney fees; and ALJ did not abuse his discretion by finding that citizen group's membership contribution claim was groundless and awarding political committee attorney fees.

Case State: colorado

Case Name: Colo. Ethics Watch v. Gessler

Citation: 363 P.3d 727 (Colo. App. 2013)

Year: 2013

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/fa724d1482869c7093fbbf79770ce05c?query=Colo.%2[...]

Case Summary: Holding that the following rule is arbitrary and capricious, because the 30% threshold was unsupported by competent evidence in the record: "In order to determine whether an issue committee has a 'major purpose"' under the constitutional and statutory definitions, [determine whether] a demonstrated pattern of conduct is established where the organization's annual expenditures in support of or in opposition to ballot issues or ballot questions exceed 30% of the organization's total spending during the same period." Holding that Secretary of State did not have the authority to add a "major purpose" requirement, because the constitutional definition of "political committees" is clear and unambiguous. Holding that Secretary of State's rules improperly eliminated the statutory distinction between a political organization and a political committee.

Federal Cases

Case Name: Buckley v. Valeo

Citation: 424 U.S. 1 (1976)

Federal District Court:

Year: 1976

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/eb48c5774e89242d77a0b7c573033957

Case Summary: Holding that provisions in the Federal Election Campaign Act that limited expenditures by candidates on their own campaigns using personal funds violated the candidates' First Amendment rights to freedom of speech.

Case Name: Citizens for Responsible Gov’t State Political Action Comm. v. Davidson

Citation: 236 F.3d 1174 (10th Cir. 2000)

Federal Circuit Court: 10th Circuit Court

Year: 2000

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/4ec65e67ac7f8c47192a6f3afa7c1b38

Case Summary: Holding that sections of the Fair Campaign Practices Act defining “independent expenditure,” “political committee,” and “political message,” were applicable to issue advocacy groups which had expenditures referring to specific candidates for state office, so that those groups had standing to challenge the law; voter guides that referred to specific candidates but did not expressly advocate the election or defeat of any candidate were “political messages” covered by the Act; the definitions were unconstitutional as applied to plaintiffs; the unconstitutional phrases were severable; the requirement of giving notice of obligation of funds for independent expenditures within 24 hours violated the First Amendment and was not severable from the remainder of the reporting subsection; and the disclaimer provision of the Act was invalid.

Regulations & Guidance