Grassroots groups still must disclose contributions received
Washington’s grassroots lobbying disclosure law is still safe after a federal appellate court dismissed a challenger’s case. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the claim by Many Cultures, One Voice and Conservative Enthusiasts challenging the state’s disclosure laws for grassroots lobbying. The law requires groups to disclose contributions and spending once it has spent $500 in one month or $1,000 over a three-month period for grassroots lobbying.
The court ruled the two groups did not have standing to sue, because they never actually met the threshold for having to disclose its activities. Initially, the two groups argued the disclosure requirements thwarted free speech, but the trail court ruled against the groups saying the law did not violate the First Amendment.
The groups are now planning their next course of action. They may petition the appellate court to vacate the trial court’s ruling. If this were to happen, it would free up other groups to challenge the law without the benefit of a prior ruling in favor of the state.
Shamus Williams, Esq. is a Research Associate at State and Federal Communications, Inc.