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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Organization sues over campaign ad law

Advertiser Staff

The Hawaii Right to Life organization is suing members of the state Campaign Spending Commission, claiming a state law that requires financial reports from groups or individuals who buy advertising in an attempt to influence voters on certain issues is unconstitutional.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court yesterday by Honolulu attorney James Hochberg and which lists the names of several attorneys associated with the James Madison Center for Free Speech in Terre Haute, Ind., says Hawaii Right to Life intended to engage in "issue advocacy" pertaining to assisted suicide and other matters.

But the lawsuit said the organization held off purchasing advertising that would have listed where Hawai'i candidates stand on issues, because of a state law that requires a campaign spending report to be filed by groups or organizations that spend more than $2,000 on advertising during election periods on issues that will be put before voters.

Robert Watada, Campaign Spending commission executive director, could not be reached last night for comment.

Hawaii Right to Life is asking that the section of Hawai'i law that mandates the filing of reports for issue advocacy advertising be declared unconstitutional on its face and that a court order be issued to keep the state from enforcing that portion of state law.