The case, Coloradans for a Better Future v. Campaign Integrity Watchdog, went all the way to the Colorado State Supreme Court, but, today, free speech won. The Supreme Court slapped down the allegation from Campaign Integrity Watchdog that political speakers can be hauled into court by political opponents for seeking free legal counsel to help navigate Colorado’s unnecessarily complex campaign finance morass.
According to an Institute for Justice press release:
“Today’s ruling provides vitally needed protection for political speakers in Colorado,” said Paul Sherman, a senior attorney for the Institute for Justice, which represented Coloradans for a Better Future (CBF) before the Colorado Supreme Court. “Countless groups in Colorado rely on free or reduced cost legal services to navigate the state’s campaign finance laws, and law firms like the Institute for Justice provide free legal services to challenge the constitutionality of those laws. This ruling ensures that they can continue to do so.”
This ruling is another loss racked up by Matt Arnold, a one-man lawsuit machine that typically only benefits the Democratic Party (despite claiming he’s a conservative).
Here’s the Institute for Justice’s summary of the depths to which Arnold, no friend of the Peak, will go to silence his opponents:
“CBF’s legal odyssey began in 2012, when the group ran ads critical of Matthew Arnold, a Republican candidate for the Colorado Board of Regents. After losing the primary election, Arnold and a group he founded, Campaign Integrity Watchdog, turned to the courts, filing numerous campaign finance lawsuits against CBF. In an effort to escape this harassment, CBF, with the help of a lawyer volunteering his services, filed a termination report with the Secretary of State. But this only prompted another lawsuit from Arnold, this time alleging that the volunteer lawyer’s aid should have been disclosed as a campaign contribution.“
It’s this kind of nonsense that produces a chilling effect on political speech and activity in Colorado. Bravo to the Institute for Justice. Keep fighting the good fight.