In striking down the law, the court considered some important reasons to allow anonymous speech that weighed in their decision.
Enhance authority – “Anonymity thereby provides a way for a writer who may be personally unpopular to ensure that readers will not prejudge her message simply because they do not like its proponent.”
Encourage open discourse – “The interest in having anonymous works enter the marketplace of ideas unquestionably outweighs any public interest in requiring disclosure as a condition of entry.”
Safety from retaliation – “The decision in favor of anonymity may be motivated by fear of economic of official retaliation, by concern about social ostracism, or merely by a desire to preserve as much of one’s privacy as possible.” – Excerpts from SCOTUS ruling in McIntyre v. Ohio Election Commission
Today, the Election Law committee will take up Jamie Eldridge’s assault on the First Amendment. The Boston Globe has the story:
The disclosure crackdown, aimed at super PACs as well as nonprofit advovacy groups that fund huge numbers of television ads, would go into effect immediately, should the bill be signed by Governor Deval Patrick. Aides say Patrick expressed support for the concept. The new individual donation limits would not take effect until next year.
The legislation would create one of the strictest and most comprehensive state campaign finance laws in the country. It was designed in response to the array of outside groups that have proliferated since the 2010 Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court, which opened the door to unlimited spending by unions and corporations in political races.
“We are powerless to stop the influx of money to our local races, but we can shed light on those shadowy groups and where their dark money is coming from and how it is being spent,” said state Representative James M. Murphy, a Weymouth Democrat and co-chair of the Joint Committee on Election Laws.
The bill is expected to clear that committee Wednesday.
Representatives Ryan Fattman and Paul Frost are the Republicans from the House on the Election Law Committee. Senator Bruce Tarr is the Republican Senator.
The right to free speech includes the right to remain anonymous. The Supreme Court has time and time again upheld that right. In Massachusetts the Supreme Judicial Court has held it unconstitutional to require disclosure notices on printed campaign materials.
Please Call the above representatives and senator, especially if they are yours, and ask them to vote no on this assault on your free speech rights.