When the financial burden of state regulation of issue committees approaches or exceeds the value of the financial contributions to a political effort, such regulations may unconstitutionally burden freedom of association. Samson v. Buescher. Colorado’s Constitution art. XXVIII sec. 2(10)(a)(II) and CRS 1-45-108 establish a $200 threshold for registering issue committees and for reporting contributions and expenditures retro- and prospectively (Limits). Samson found the Limits to be unconstitutional as applied to a small-scale issue committee. To address the confusion caused by Samson, Gessler promulgated CCR 1505-6:4.27 (now Rule 4.1), setting the threshold at $5000, applied prospectively only. The Court set aside Rule 4.1 as contrary to the still-valid Limits, which could be constitutionally applied in cases dissimilar from Samson’s $2000 in contributions.
Tag Archives: Issue Committee
Scott Gessler, as Secretary of State v. Colorado Common Cause and Colorado Ethics Watch, 2014CO44 (June 16, 2014)
Colorado Common Cause and Colorado Ethics Watch v. Gessler, Secretary of State 2012COA147 (August 30, 2012)
“Committee: n. A body that keeps minutes and wastes hours.” (Paul Ogden). The Colorado Constitution and related legislation, subjects an “issue committee” to registration and disclosure requirements once it receives $200. The Secretary of State, Scott Gessler, issued a rule that said that the “issue committee” regulations were not triggered until the group received $5000. At the center of this case is a 10th Circuit opinion holding that the “issue committee” registration requirements, as applied to a group of neighbors distributing fliers in opposition to the annexation of their neighborhood, unconstitutionally infringed on their First Amendment rights. That opinion did not, however, invalidate the law. So, the new rule, intended to address some uncertainty from the 10th Circuit opinion, contravened the law, and therefore the Secretary exceeded his authority to issue it.