Afternoon Jolt

By Afternoon Jolt October 12, 2010

Today's Winner: Washington state

As we've pointed out a couple of times now: Even though Washington state's campaign finance system is actually even more favorable to corporate donations than the post-Citizens United campaign landscape at the federal level (totally true), what makes our system better is the fact that we've got full disclosure.

Simply put, corporations can donate directly from their treasuries (and as much as they want) when it comes to political advocacy in Washington state, but they're required to disclose. (Not so at the federal level.)

Washington state's campaign finance disclosure system was upheld today by the 9th Circuit Court with a 74-page opinion that rebuked a challenge by Human Life of Washington, the group that opposed the “assisted suicide” or “Death with Dignity” I-1000 in 2008.

HLW argued that the disclosure requirements for political groups, independent expenditures and political advertising violated First Amendment rights to political speech. Attorney General Rob McKenna defended the Public Disclosure Act.

In her ruling, Judge Molly Dwyer concluded:

The Disclosure Law represents Washingtonians’ considered judgment that “full access  to information concerning the conduct of government on every level must be  assured as a fundamental and necessary precondition to the sound governance of a  free society.” There is a substantial  relationship between Washington State’s interest in informing the electorate and  the definitions and disclosure requirements it employs to advance that interest.

Today's Loser:  The United States.
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