Could Fisher College be in violation under a new campaign finance bill?


A placard advertising Fisher College currently displayed on MBTA trains could violate the law under a proposed campaign finance measure.

Because the ad mentions Attleboro State Representative Paul Heroux, who took classes at the school, complying would mean the names of Fisher's top five donors must be listed on the ad itself if it were on display within 90 days of an election. Fisher College would also be required to file a report with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance.

The bill, H.543, is entitled "An Act relative to disclosure of top contributors for independent expenditures or electioneering communications." The title belies the law's intent, which is to stifle political speech. (Take a look at this article from The Boston Globe.) Its requirements clearly violate the standards of private free speech, as defined over centuries by the Supreme Court. Interestingly, the disclosure requirements proposed also go beyond those in play for politicians themselves.    

If passed, the measure would have a chilling effect on speech and create an avalanche of bureaucratic reporting requirements for non-profit and educational foundations.

To search for the proposed legislation, please click here. To read more about current campaign finance law, please click here.

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