Wisconsin Pro-Life Group Challenges Campaign Finance Law

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 16, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Wisconsin Pro-Life Group Challenges Campaign Finance Law

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 16, 2003

Madison, WI (LifeNews.com) — An onerous campaign finance law may block Wisconsin Right to Life from participating in special legislative elections slated to be held in less than a week.

Wisconsin’s campaign finance law was challenged by several state political groups after it was revised in 2002. A U.S. District Court struck down the law because it contained unconstitutional provisions that prohibited political groups from discussing candidate’s views 60 days prior to an election.

Since that time, Wisconsin has not repealed the law.

Wisconsin Right to Life had asked for a formal opinion from the State Elections Board as to whether or not it would continue to enforce the law against organizations other than those named in the lawsuit.

The board has yet to issue an opinion, and has left the pro-life group little time to inform its members about the candidate’s views on life issues or engaging in election activities in the special elections.

The group filed a request for a temporary restraining order against the law and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. The case will be heard Friday.

"Wisconsin’s Campaign Finance Law unconstitutionally chills our First Amendment right to engage in political speech during the impending July 22 special elections and in future elections," said Susan Armacost, Legislative/PAC Director for Wisconsin Right to Life. 

"The law prohibits us from speaking about candidates and the positions of candidates within 60 days preceding an election. Thus, we are now precluded from even mentioning any of the candidates running in the two upcoming July 22 special elections.  Our constitutional right to engage in future elections would also be chilled."