Attorney General Hood to appeal campaign finance ruling

HOOD

HOOD

By Patsy R. Brumfield

Daily Journal

JACKSON – An appeal will be filed to challenge a new federal district ruling that part of Mississippi’s campaign finance reporting law is unconstitutional.

Wednesday, a spokesman for Attorney General Jim Hood said, “We will appeal.”

The federal court ruling in the Northern District of Mississippi came Monday in a 2011 lawsuit that challenged registration and reporting requirements on small groups or individuals who wanted to take a side on a ballot issue. The law requires registration and financial reporting once spending exceeds $200.

Hood’s challenge will go to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, even though he said Tuesday that he’s discouraged that the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial “Citizens United” decision removing restrictions to corporate campaign donations is “one of the most damaging court decisions to our American democratic system.”

U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock ruled that the law “chills” free speech and puts “onerous” and confusing requirements on small groups or individuals.

She said any decision about the impact on more substantial spending or political committees would have to wait “for another day.”

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a defendant in the 2011 lawsuit, could not be reached for comment Tuesday or Wednesday about whether he supports an appeal.

patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com