OLYMPIA - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal challenging Washington's campaign disclosure laws - a decision state leaders called a victory for transparency in the elections process.
The court let stand without comment a federal appeals court ruling that upheld the state’s disclosure requirements for political committees, independent expenditures and political advertising, which were approved by voters in 1972.
Human Life of Washington challenged the requirements as a violation of its free speech rights.
The group didn’t want to reveal its donors in a 2008 campaign opposing an assisted suicide ballot measure.
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In an October ruling, the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the disclosure requirements “have become an important part of our First Amendment tradition.”
“There is a substantial relationship between Washington State’s interest in informing the electorate and the definitions and disclosure requirements it employs to advance that interest,” the judges wrote.
The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold that ruling drew praise from state officials.
“We’re pleased that our state’s campaign finance disclosure laws have again been affirmed and the people of Washington will continue to be able to follow the money in ballot measure campaigns,” said Dan Sytman, a spokesman for state Attorney General Rob McKenna.