St. Petersburg Times Online: News of Florida
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
  • A spoonful of protest
  • 2 sides near deal on budget
  • Reno won't let baggage hold her back
  • Part of campaign law is tossed out

  • Lucy Morgan
  • Like dead men, the government tells no tales

  • From the state wire

  • Hurricane Jeanne appears on track to hit Florida's east coast
  • Rumor mill working overtime after Florida hurricanes
  • Developments associated with Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne
  • Four killed in Panhandle plane crash were on Ivan charity mission
  • Hurricane Frances caused estimated $4.4 billion in insured damage
  • Disabled want more handicapped-accessible voting machines
  • USF forces administrators to resign over test score changes
  • Man's death at Universal Studios ruled accidental
  • State child welfare workers in Miami fail to do background checks
  • Hurricane Jeanne heads toward southeast U.S. coast
  • Hurricane Jeanne spurs more anxiety for storm-weary Floridians
  • Mistrial declared in case where teen was target of racial "joke"
  • Panhandle utility wants sewer plant moved to higher ground
  • State employee arrested on theft, bribery charges
  • Homestead house fire kills four children, one adult
  • Pierson leader tries to cut off relief to local fern cutters
  • Florida's high court rules Terri's law unconstitutional
  • Jacksonville students punished for putting stripper pole in dorm
  • FEMA handling nearly 600,000 applications for help
  • Man who killed wife, niece, self also killed mother in 1971
  • Producer sues city over lead ball fired by Miami police
  • Tourism suffers across Florida after pummeling by hurricanes
  • Key dates in the life of Terri Schiavo
  • An excerpt from the unanimous ruling in the Schiavo case
  • Four confirmed dead after small plane crash in Panhandle
  • Correction: Disney-Cruise Line story

    printer version

    Part of campaign law is tossed out

    The federal court ruled that the law violated the First Amendment.


    © St. Petersburg Times,
    published December 1, 2001

    TALLAHASSEE -- A federal appeals court has tossed out a section of Florida's campaign finance law that prohibited contributions made in another person's name and kept candidates from making or soliciting charitable contributions.

    The ruling marks the second time that Florida Right to Life has successfully overturned a section of the campaign finance law in the pursuit of a lawsuit filed in federal court in Orlando in 1999.

    Attorney General Bob Butterworth said he thinks legislators can easily redraft the law and resolve the problem. But others suggested the decision will open the door to more and more "shadow advertising" in political campaigns.

    In December 1999, acting in the same lawsuit, a federal judge in Orlando overturned the law that required political action committees to report contributions and expenditures. That decision led to the creation of mysterious committees that spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeat and elect legislative candidates last year.

    Legislative efforts to fix the law have repeatedly failed despite criticism from Common Cause and the League of Women Voters.

    "It would certainly be unfortunate if this opens the door to a lot more unaccountable shadow advertising," noted Ben Wilcox, executive director of Common Cause. "But I have some hope the Legislature will fix this."

    On Wednesday the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta found the law that forbids candidates from soliciting or making donations to charitable organizations with personal or campaign funds to be a violation of the First Amendment.

    The decision eliminated the entire section of the law, including a sentence that was not at issue in the lawsuit. It prohibited contributors from giving donations in someone else's name.

    Butterworth said he believes other sections of the law can be used to accomplish the same goal.

    The ruling arose from a letter written by Secretary of State Katherine Harris indicating she would like to donate to Florida Right to Life but did not want to violate the law.

    "The letter shows that Florida Right to Life is suffering actual hardship in the form of economic loss" when candidates are forced to forgo contributions, the court noted.

    Back to State news
    Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
    Special Links
    Lucy Morgan

    From the Times state desk