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State Constitution’s Campaign Donations Ban Declared Unconstitutional

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled today that the Colorado Constitution’s bans on certain political contributions from corporations and labor groups violate the First Amendment in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision in January.
The ruling, which was not unexpected, comes in response interrogatories Gov. Bill Ritter submitted to Colorado’s high court last month, asking it to clarify two sections of the state constitution.
The Colorado Supreme Court found both sections unconstitutional under Citizens United: Article XXVIII, Section 3(4), which forbids corporations and labor groups from giving funds to a political party or candidate or to expressly advocating on behalf of a campaign; and Article XXVIII, Section 6(2), which forbids corporations and labor groups from funding electioneering communications.
The court’s decision today frees corporations and labor unions to make independent expenditures expressly advocating for candidates.