Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court declines to review constitutionality of R.I. election finance disclosure law

Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that the United States Supreme Court has denied a petition for certiorari in Gaspee Project v. Mederos, letting stand a First Circuit decision affirming the constitutionality of Rhode Island’s election spending disclosure law.

The Office of the Attorney General had previously successfully defended the constitutionality of Rhode Island’s Independent Expenditures and Electioneering Communications Act (Act), a law designed to promote transparency and maintain the integrity of elections, in Federal District Court and later before the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

The Act, subject to certain exceptions, requires disclosures and disclaimers for election-related expenditures of over $1,000 or more in any calendar year for either independent expenditures or electioneering communications.

In 2019, plaintiffs, The Gaspee Project and Illinois Opportunity Project, challenged the constitutionality of the Act – specifically its disclosure and disclaimer requirements.

“State campaign and election finance laws exist for a reason: to inform Rhode Islanders of the sources of financial support, directly or indirectly, for candidates for public office,” said Attorney General Peter Neronha. “Such information is critical to voters evaluating the messaging they are subjected to by those spending significant sums of money to influence their decisions. An informed electorate is integral to our democracy, and the Court’s action sends a strong message in support of that principle.”

Campaign Legal Center (CLC) served as outside co-counsel along with the Office of the Attorney General in the Supreme Court proceedings.



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