Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Prop. 8 disclosure lawsuit to be heard in federal court tomorrow

As was reported a few weeks ago in a San Francisco Chronicle article by Bob Egelko, the proponents of Proposition 8, an initiative passed by voters in November that bans gay marriage in California, have sued the Secretary of State and the Fair Political Practices Commission, claiming that California's campaign finance disclosure laws infringe upon their donors' rights to freedom of speech. The plaintiffs state in their lawsuit that the campaign's donors have been harassed for their contributions, which they say has had a chilling effect on contributions. The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction to excuse them from filing a new round of disclosure reports, which are due February 2. A hearing will take place tomorrow morning in Sacramento's federal courthouse to hear the motion for a preliminary injunction and decide whether the Prop. 8 campaign will be required to report their donors on February 2 or not.

This lawsuit is a serious challenge to California's disclosure laws, and if successful would have a potentially wide-ranging impact on voters' abilities in the future to know who is funding initiative campaigns. The suit is " vs. Debra Bowen". The plaintiffs' complaint is online, as is the Attorney General's brief opposing the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction.

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