A Florida group has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in a challenge to the state’s campaign finance restrictions that force groups looking to spend even tiny amounts of money on political radio advertising to form a political action committee. The plaintiffs, who are suing the Florida secretary of state over the provision, said the rules impose a “chilling effect” on their right to free speech. Their suit was rejected by the 11th Circuit Court in June. If the regulations are struck down by the court, state residents could raise and contribute money for campaign advertising without facing the reporting restrictions — including registering with the state, selecting a treasurer and submitting to random audits — demanded of PACs. The Supreme Court is expected to announce whether it will accept the case early next month.
“The people shouldn’t have to hire attorneys and accountants and experts to speak out on issues of the day,” said Allen Dickerson, legal director for the Center for Competitive Politics, which last week joined with the libertarian Cato Institute in a “friend of the court” brief urging the Supreme Court justices to accept the case.
“If true grass-roots actors want to be able to discuss issues in their community, they are going to be treated like a large entity even though they don’t have those resources,” Mr. Dickerson argued.