Victory: Supreme Court Upholds Ruling on Constitutionality of Disclosure


WASHINGTON  Today, the Supreme Court rejected a constitutional challenge to “electioneering communication” disclosure provisions, which the Court has twice upheld since they were enacted as part of the McCain-Feingold Act in 2002. Today’s summary ruling affirms the three-judge district court’s decision in Independence Institute v. FEC to uphold the disclosure law, which ensures transparency from groups that sponsor candidate-focused ads shortly before an election and prevents efforts to evade disclosure.

“Supporters of government transparency applaud the Supreme Court’s decision today to affirm the constitutionality of these key disclosure requirements,” said Tara Malloy, deputy executive director at the Campaign Legal Center. “The public has a right to know who is spending large sums of money to influence their vote and to shape the laws and regulations that impact everyone.”

The disclosure requirements apply to groups that spend more than $10,000 on candidate-focused TV and radio ads that air shortly before an election, targeted to the relevant electorate. As political ads increasingly flood the airwaves each campaign cycle, the public should have access to complete information about the sources of money seeking to influence their vote.

These disclosure laws are essential for a healthy democracy. As the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized, shielding large campaign donors from scrutiny deprives voters of information they need to make informed decisions at the ballot box. By arming themselves with that information, voters are better able to evaluate the messages of ads and determine the weight they should carry in their electoral judgments. Disclosure also helps voters hold corporations accountable for their political spending and helps make sure public officials aren’t in the pocket of special interests.

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