A new rule that requires third party groups to disclose their funding is being challenged in federal court, although one political watchdog group says the arguments against it don’t add up.
One Wisconsin Now and the Wisconsin Club For Growth filed a lawsuit over the weekend challenging the new regulations, which require groups running so-called political issue ads to report where their money comes from. The challenge claims the rules violate the First Amendment.
Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign says the rules have been vetted by the Government Accountability Board and the Legislature, and he’s sure they’ll stand up to further scrutinty. He says they don’t prevent them from airing ads, limit the message content, or restrict them in any way. It simply requires them to disclose their activity so the public can have transparency.
The rules require disclosure for ads running 30 days before a primary and 60 days before a general election. The lawsuit seeks an injunction, which McCabe says could prevent enforcement this fall. Ultimately, he says that may be the goal of those filing the challenge, since an injunction would make them winners this election season, even if their argument eventually fails.
Under the rule, groups will be required to register with the Government Accountability Board by August 13th, which would require a quick decision on an injunction to prevent enforcement before the September primary.