Liberty Alerts, Congress Shall Make No Law, Anthony Sanders
Faced with three separate lawsuits the State of Wisconsin has backed-down from enforcing an incredibly-broad new campaign finance regulation. If the regulation had been enforced, then conceivably millions of people across the Wisconsin would have had to register with the government for merely mentioning candidates for office.
No, this is not a conspiracy theory post. Let me repeat that: Millions of people may have had to register with the government for the privilege of mentioning candidates.
Here’s how the scheme was going to work. Under Wisconsin’s campaign finance statutes (pdf) a group or individual must register with the state if they receive contributions or make “disbursements” of over $25 in a calendar year. “Disbursements” is further defined as spending on a “communication” for a “political purpose.” There are some minor exceptions to what constitutes a “disbursement” but it includes spending money on “correspondence” that is reproduced by a machine. Heard of email? Yes, your spending on your computer, your smart phone, or your service plan, that enables you to send emails, or set up a webpage (every heard of Facebook? Twitter?) that are for a “political purpose” would qualify.
Used with the permission of the Institute for Justice.