Libertarian group sues over Florida's campaign finance law

09/29/10 Kate Bradshaw
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Yesterday the DC-area-based Institute for Justice, a nonprofit that calls itself the nation’s only libertarian public interest law firm, filed a lawsuit challenging Florida’s campaign finance laws. When four Sarasota-county residents wanted to pool together $150 apiece to fund a series of radio ads attacking a proposed state constitutional amendment on November’s ballot, the law required that they register as a political action committee or PAC.

Now, on behalf of those four residents, the libertarian Institute for Justice is asking a court to strike down a state law requiring any group that is made up of more than two people – or spends more than $500 – to comply with a series of state regulations. Institute for Justice staff attorney Paul Sherman is heading the case. He says campaign finance laws are unnecessary for grassroots political groups.

The group plans to request a preliminary injunction, which would temporarily freeze Florida’s campaign finance laws so that the four Sarasota residents can run their ads without registering as a PAC before the election.

Critics say campaign finance laws are in place for a reason, and they help create a more balanced debate on ballot issues.

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