NOM Continues to Lead the Battle Against State Campaign Finance Laws
Special interest groups of all stripes are taking advantage of the loosened limits on outside spending in this election cycle, but one group in particular still isn’t satisfied with the campaign finance landscape in the states, and it’s continuing to step up its challenges against them.
The National Organization for Marriage, the 501(c)(4) group which famously led efforts to pass propositions banning gay marriage in Maine and California, has been steadily challenging state laws governing campaign spending that it says are unconstitutional, especially in the wake of recent court decisions like Citizens United. Many state laws require all groups spending over $1,000 in state elections to register as political committees and disclose their donors, but NOM says its spending is primarily issues-based and therefore it shouldn’t be compelled to do so:
In Buffalo on Thursday, a federal judge reserved decision after a NOM lawyer argued it would be unconstitutional to regulate the group as a political committee because it’s not controlled by a candidate and doesn’t spend most of its money on candidates.
Meanwhile in Providence, a judge said the group could go ahead with ads in Rhode Island as long as it reports how much it’s spending. [...]
In Rhode Island, Judge Mary Lisi said that since NOM does not plan to work in concert with a particular candidate or party, its ads are properly classified as “independent expenditures” under state law. There’s no limit or ban on such expenditures, and the only requirement is a simple form requiring a group that plans to spend more than $100 to list the date, amount and purpose of the expense.
NOM recently lost its legal challenge in Maine, but a lawyer representing the group said that it is appealing the decision. While many special interest groups spending in state legislative and gubernatorial races stand to be affected by such court decisions, NOM is at the forefront of the fight against state campaign finance laws across the country.