SW Legal studies in Business

Colorado Restrictions on Campaign Spending by Corporations and Unions Unconstitutional
Description

Colorado high court held that in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United case, provisions in the Colorado Constitution that prohibited spending by corporations and labor organizations on behalf of political candidates and issues are in violation of the First Amendment.

Topic Constitutional Law
Key Words

First Amendment; Free Speech; Political Speech; Business; Labor

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

The governor of Colorado submitted two interrogatories regarding the constitutionality of provisions in the state constitution that prohibit certain political contributions from corporation and labor groups. One provision makes it unlawful for a corporation or labor organization to make an expenditure expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate for public office. The second provision makes it illegal for a corporation or labor organization to provide funding for an electioneering communication.

Decision

Interrogatories answered. "To the extent that section 3(4) of article XXVIII of the Colorado Constitution makes it unlawful for a corporation or labor organization to make expenditures expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate, it violates the dictates of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, in light of the United States Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, 30 S.Ct. 876 (2010)." Similarly, to the extent that "the Colorado Constitution makes it unlawful for a corporation or a labor organization to provide funding for an electioneering communication, it violates the dictates of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, in light of the United States Supreme Court's decision."

Citation

In re Interrogatories Propounded by Governor Bill Ritter, ---P.3d--- (2010 WL 1006702, Sup. Ct., Colo., 2010)

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