State Can't Force Nonprofits to Register as Political Committees

The New Mexico Independent reports that a federal appeals court upheld a lower-court decision which ruled that forcing two nonprofits to register as political committees was a violation of the groups’ free-speech rights.

The state had previously ordered the groups New Mexico Youth Organized (NMYO) and the SouthWest Organizing Project to register as political entities after they sent out mailings criticizing several state lawmakers in 2008. This latest ruling upholds an August 2009 decision which determined that "the attempt to regulate NMYO and SWOP as political committees is unconstitutional as applied."

Matt Brix, CEO for the Center for Civic Policy, which sponsored NMYO was quoted in the New Mexico Independent. "The decision by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirms the right of nonprofit organizations to hold public officials accountable. It also affirms the right of nonprofit organizations to educate the public and engage them in their democracy."

 

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