The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a Delaware law compelling groups that spend more than $500 to reveal donors who contributed $100 or more. Delaware Safe Families (DSF), a nonprofit that distributed an “informational” voter guide in the 2014 election, was previously awarded an injunction to avoid complying with the act by a federal judge. “It is the conduct of an organization, rather than an organization’s status with the Internal Revenue Service, that determines whether it makes communications subject to” the Delaware Elections Disclosure Act, Judge Joseph Greenaway Jr. wrote in the unanimous decision.
Delaware had argued its act does not conflict with the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark finding in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case. “Any possibility that the Constitution limits the reach of disclosure to express advocacy or its functional equivalent is surely repudiated by Citizens United v. FEC,” Greenaway wrote.
The ruling follows a series of state measures against “dark money” through disclosure laws. Montana approved a law in April requiring groups to report how money is being spent in state political races while the Arizona Supreme Court found in the same month groups cannot claim they’re educating voters to attack politicians while hiding funding sources.