Legal Center Defends Mississippi Disclosure Laws in 5th Circuit Filing


Yesterday, the Campaign Legal Center filed a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in defense of the State of Mississippi’s campaign finance disclosure laws.  The brief urges the Court of Appeals to overturn a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, which ruled that the individuals who brought the case would not have to reveal their spending or their funders as they promote the passage or defeat of state constitutional amendment ballot measures.”     

“The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld disclosure laws and been very clear in its recognition of the vital public interest in disclosing the identities of those funding efforts to influence elections - including in the ballot measure setting,” said Megan McAllen, Legal Center Associate Counsel.  “It must be emphasized that this law does not restrict in any manner how much these individuals may raise and spend in support of or opposition to state constitutional amendment initiatives, but only requires them to disclose that advocacy to the voting public.  The suit is one of many brought across the country in recent years that have asked courts to ignore legal precedent so that voters will be kept in the dark about those seeking to influence their vote.”

The facial and as-applied challenge to Mississippi’s disclosure requirements for state constitutional ballot measures was brought on behalf of five individuals seeking to pool their resources and raise additional funds from outside sources to impact such measures and to do so while hiding the identities of their backers.  The lower court in its ruling attempted to sidestep at least some of the established legal precedent by ruling on an as applied basis. 

In yesterday’s filing, the Legal Center urged the Fifth Circuit to apply the pertinent precedent and reverse the lower court’s decision, arguing that the district court “improperly discounted the state’s interests, disproportionately emphasized the Plaintiffs’ burdens, and failed to pay any deference” to Mississippi’s duly elected state legislators. 

To read the brief, click here.