Forcing Non-Political Groups to Disclose Donors
H.3189 turns one of the worst provisions of last session’s atrocious “ethics” bill into a piece of stand-alone legislation. H.3189 would require individuals making an independent expenditure in excess of five hundred dollars during a calendar year or an individual who makes an electioneering communication to file a report of the expenditure or communication with the State Ethics Commission — subjecting the individual to regulation and reporting requirements for a pretty minimal investment. The bill would further require groups that make an “electioneering communication” to disclose their donors. Electioneering communication is broadly defined as any person or group that, through broadcast, cable, satellite, mass postal mailing, or telephone bank, even references a candidate within 60 days of a general or 30 days of a primary election. Such a definition of electioneering is overly broad and would almost certainly invite a court challenge given the precedent set by numerous rulings in favor of protected speech and issue advocacy.