Today’s Time Standard has the story.
Two companies filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco Wednesday, challenging the constitutionality of Measure T, a county ordinance banning corporate election donations, an attorney said.
The lawsuit argues the ballot measure, passed by voters in 2006, violates the political free speech rights of corporations by banning their donations in local elections.
”The county’s donation restriction runs the First Amendment through a shredder,” said Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Damien Schiff. “The Constitution guarantees open and vibrant political debate, with all sides and all points of view allowed into the fray. The county’s ordinance is an outrageous assault on these free speech rights, because it targets a class of employers to be shut out of the political process.”
Under Measure T, if a corporation has any employees or shareholders living outside of the county, the business is banned from donating to campaigns relating to local ballot measures or candidates for local office, attorneys said.
The lawsuit was filed by Pacific Legal Foundation attorneys on behalf of Mercer-Fraser Co., an asphalt paving and heavy construction business based in Eureka, and O & M Industries, an Arcata-based manufacturer focused on steel fabrication and heat, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
I broke with my fellow local progressives on this issue when it was up for vote, but the proponents claim that this measure was specifically crafted to withstand Constitutional challenge based upon the reasoning of past cases, and speaking strictly in legal terms, the plaintiffs may have a uphill climb. I may have some more to say about this later.