A Looming Fight Over Donor Disclosure in Idaho

This is an issue worth watching closely…as the folks who argued that transparency was the antidote to all that campaign cash post Citizens United change their tune abruptly and now argue for donor secrecy:

Idaho’s Secretary of State wants a court to order a group campaigning for Idaho’s ballot referenda to reveal its donors.

Education Voters of Idaho gave more than $200,000 to another, affiliated group for ads supporting propositions 1, 2, and 3. Those ask voters if they want to keep Idaho’s Students Come First education laws. Education Voters refused an ultimatum from Secretary of State Ben Ysursa to reveal its donors. Ysursa maintains Idaho’s Sunshine Law says Education Voters has to disclose. Education Voters insists the First Amendment and the Supreme Court decision Citizens United says it doesn’t.

Anthony Johnstone has some experience with state election law vs. Citizens United. As Montana’s state solicitor he worked on acase that went to the Supreme Court.

“Citizens United says in general, disclosure by political committees including disclosure of their funding sources, does not violate the First Amendment,” Johnstone says. “States have the power to require organizations that spend money in political campaigns to tell the voters where their money comes from.”

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