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Wiley Rein Helps Secure Win Supporting Free Speech in Colorado

February 6, 2018

Washington, DC— Wiley Rein attorneys helped secure a recent freedom of speech victory in Colorado, where the state supreme court unanimously ruled on January 29 that pro bono and reduced cost legal services are not “contributions” under Colorado’s campaign finance law. The decision in Coloradans for a Better Future v. Campaign Integrity Watchdog will ensure that political speakers cannot be sued by their political opponents simply as a result of seeking legal assistance to navigate Colorado’s complex campaign finance regime.

In an amicus brief filed in October 2016 in support of the petitioner, Robert L. Walker and Louisa Brooks of the firm’s Election Law & Government Ethics Practice related the experiences of three individual Coloradans who became embroiled in campaign finance lawsuits simply by speaking on issues of personal and public importance: a school board election, a community annexation, and a statewide ballot initiative. The goal of the brief was to illustrate for the court the heavy burden the state’s private enforcement system places on speakers – and the corresponding necessity of access to affordable legal counsel to navigate that system.

A complete summary of the case is available through the Institute for Justice, which litigated the case on behalf of the petitioner.

To read the Colorado Supreme Court opinion, please click here.