O'Keefe v. Chisholm: Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Amici Brief of CLC & Democracy 21 Supporting Chisholm and Urging Reversal

Court Level
Seventh Circuit

Under Wisconsin law, money spent in coordination with a candidate for the purpose of influencing an election is deemed a contribution to such candidate subject to limits and source restrictions, as well as disclosure obligations. See, e.g., Wis. Stat. §§ 11.01(6)(a)1, 11.01(16); 11.06(1); Wis. Admin. Code § GAB 1.42. The goal of this law—and many similar laws at the federal and state level—is to block attempts by big donors to purchase influence over candidates “through prearranged or coordinated expenditures amounting to disguised contributions,” and thereby to prevent political corruption and the appearance of corruption. Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 47 (1976). The constitutional question raised by this appeal is whether the mere avoidance of words of express electoral advocacy in a coordinated communication so reduces its value as a contribution—and its corruptive potential—that it cannot permissibly be subject to limits or public disclosure.