Whitewater Resident Challenges Wisconsin Campaign Finance Laws

James Madison Center for Free Speech
1 South 6th Street
Terre Haute, IN 47807

March 29, 2010
Contact: James Bopp, Jr.
Phone: 812-232-2434; Fax 812-235-3685

Whitewater Resident Challenges Wisconsin Campaign Finance Laws

A lawsuit was filed Friday in federal court in Wisconsin challenging the same portions of that state’s campaign finance laws that a federal judge ruled unconstitutional in similar circumstances in 2009. The suit surrounds a another local referendum in the town of Whitewater that will be voted on April 6. The plaintiff, Charles G. Hatchett, a resident of Whitewater, wants to send post cards and flyers urging his fellow residents to vote against the referendum. Under Wisconsin law, Mr. Hatchett cannot participate in these activities without first registering and including a disclaimer on his materials. Mr. Hatchett filed suit arguing that these laws violate his First Amendment right to free speech.

James Bopp, Jr., an attorney representing Mr. Hatchett, states: “these overreaching campaign finance laws remain in force even after a federal judge has ruled that they are unconstitutional in situations like this. Individuals in Wisconsin still can’t send a post card concerning a referendum in their own town without registering and filing reports with the state.”

The case is titled Hatchett v. Eich. Mr. Hatchett has asked for a temporary restraining order that would allow him to immediately undertake his activities without complying with the challenged laws.

A copy of the Complaint and Motion for Preliminary Injunction will be available at the James Madison Center’s website www.jamesmadisoncenter.org.

James Bopp, Jr. has a national campaign finance and election law practice with Bopp, Coleson & Bostrom. He is General Counsel for the James Madison Center for Free Speech.