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Heartland Opposes Wisconsin’s Attempts to Silence It and Other Educational Organizations

August 27, 2010

The Wisconsin State Government Accountability Board, which regulates campaign finance, has issued a final rule requiring any person who engages in a “communication” by any means, including e-mail, the internet, or telephone, for a

The Wisconsin State Government Accountability Board, which regulates campaign finance, has issued a final rule requiring any person who engages in a “communication” by any means, including e-mail, the internet, or telephone, for a “political purpose” and who spends more than $25 in the process, to register with the state and disclose its donors. A “communication” is presumably “political” if, within 30 days prior to a primary election or within 60 days prior to a general election, it identifies a candidate and “[s]upports or condemns that candidate’s position or stance on issues….”

A number of organizations, including educational ones like Heartland, have petitioned the Wisconsin Supreme Court to review the constitutionality and legality of this rule on an expedited basis, asserting it stifles free speech. Heartland has filed an amicus curiae brief supporting this petition. If the rule is not overturned, Heartland asserts in the brief, “Heartland would have no choice but to cease uttering any speech at all in or about Wisconsin on state and local public policy issues involving Wisconsin “candidate[s].”

The entire brief is posted below.

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Maureen Martin, a former legal fellow at The Heartland Institute, passed away on February 5, 2013.