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19 May 2011

Small Victory for Free Speech in Colorado

By Diana Hsieh

Last week, Ari Armstrong debated Colorado's campaign finance disclosure laws with Jenny Flanagan of Common Cause on a local television show with Jon Caldera. (Jenny Flanagan testified at the hearing in early May, opposing any change in the existing rules. Her indifference to the burdens imposed by these laws was infuriating.) Ari did a fantastic job, and you can watch the segment on YouTube:



In related news, the Secretary of State adopted the proposed rule change, as noted here. That's a small victory, but a victory nonetheless. To recap, under the old rule, groups of two or more people advocating for or against a ballot measure were required to report all contributions and expenditures if they spent or received $200 or more. Now, that reporting threshold is $5000, and anything below that need not be reported. That's not all the reforms that I think necessary, even within the limits of the campaign finance provisions in Colorado's constitution, but it's a good start. And I will push for more.

I want to thank Ari Armstrong and Matt Arnold for testifying in defense of free speech at the hearing, particularly Ari for recording and posting the four videos. In addition, I want to thank everyone who submitted comments to the Secretary of State about this proposed rule change, all of which you can read online. I'm particularly grateful to see so many names that I know. As I said in Sunday's webcast, that's what really meaningful to me in my activism. Talk is cheap: anyone can say "Good job, Diana." When I see people taking action -- fighting for individual rights with me -- that's exciting and motivating. Your activism helps keep me going -- so thank you, thank you!

The fight for free speech in Colorado isn't over, but wow, I'm really happy that we've won our first victory.

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