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Dear Friends, Partners, and Allies,
As the year comes to a close we wanted to send you a quick update on one of major items of discussion at our last meeting. As you probably know, earlier this year Attorney General Patrick Morrisey issued a misguided legal opinion regarding the constitutionality of West Virginia’s disclosure laws. We reached out to the Brennan Center of Justice at NYU and asked them to review the opinion.
On Monday, the Brennan Center sent a letter to Secretary of State Mac Warner defending the constitutionality of the state’s transparency rules for electoral advocacy, which require those who make electoral communications to identify themselves when doing so, and urging the Secretary to make clear to the public that he will continue to fully enforce all state disclosure and disclaimer rules with respect to candidates, political parties, and other groups that engage in electoral spending.
We are grateful to the Brennan Center for sharing their knowledge and expertise on this important matter. With outside money playing a growing role in our elections — frequently dwarfing the amount spent by the candidates themselves — it’s imperative that West Virginia’s existing disclosure laws are fully enforced, and that the legislature take action to close loopholes in the law that currently make it possible for groups that spend money on political ads to hide the identity of their donors.
At the meeting, we discussed the possibility of a meeting with the Secretary. We’ll be back in touch after the first of the year, and let if we think it will be necessary to meet depending on the response.
In the meantime, we wish you all peace, love and joy this holiday season and best wishes for 2017!
Julie & Natalie
Julie Archer & Natalie Thompson, Co-Coordinators
PS: If you haven’t already, please consider a tax-deductible, year-end donation to help us continue this work. Click here to donate. Donate by Dec. 31 and have your contribution will be matched. We have already raised $3,050, including $1,000 from coalition partners and leaders, and we will receive an additional $5,000 if we raise $5,000 before the end of the year. Thanks for your support!