November 17, 2014

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has upheld the constitutionality of Mississippi’s campaign disclosure laws. The Fifth Circuit’s decision Friday reversed a previous holding of the federal district court for the Northern District of Mississippi which had found Mississippi’s campaign disclosure requirements to be unconstitutional.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and Attorney General Jim Hood were named as defendants in the lawsuit and both were represented by the Civil Litigation Division of the Attorney General’s office.

“The Fifth Circuit has confirmed our belief Mississippi has reasonable financial disclosure requirements aimed at informing the public,” said Secretary Hosemann.

“We are grateful that the Fifth Circuit agreed with the State’s position represented by the attorneys in our Civil Litigation Division,” said Attorney General Hood. “Campaign disclosure laws are important. Voters are entitled to know who is spending money to buy advertisements to influence their votes.”

The lawsuit was filed in 2011 by a group of persons in Oxford, Mississippi who wanted to spend money to influence voters in connection with constitutional amendments appearing on the November 2011 ballot. The Fifth Circuit recognized that disclosure requirements are particularly important when constitutional amendments are on the ballot.

“The initiatives on a ballot are often numerous, written in legalese . . . . Disclosure laws can provide some clarity amid this murkiness,” notes the ruling (full PDF attached).

Ms Attorney General