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Election Disclosure Law for Advocacy Groups Challenged in Delaware

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The conservative group Delaware Strong Families has filed a federal lawsuit that challenges a new election law that requires advocacy groups to disclose donors behind political ads.

The group publishes a voter guide during elections.

Under the law third-party groups and individuals must reveal their donors to the state elections commissioner if they publish ads or other communications that refer to a candidate in an election.

Allen Dickerson is the legal director for the Center for Competitive Politics which brought the suit on behalf of the group.

He told the Wilmington News Journal reports that in a 1976 the U.S. Supreme court made it clear that a group cannot be forced to register with the government unless they advocate for a particular candidate.

But David Earley with The Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law counters that the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision made it clear that disclosure is not a bar to free speech.

Andy Lippstone, chief legal counsel to Governor Jack Markell, told the paper they believe the law is constitutional and will defend it in court.

Don Rush is the News Director at Delmarva Public Media. An award-winning journalist, Don reports major local issues of the day, from sea level rise, to urban development, to the changing demographics of Delmarva.