In 2002 Colorado passed a set of campaign finance regulations that allowed private citizens to target other people’s political speech, launching very expensive (to the targeted) legal investigations. The law is structured so that even when complaints are judged baseless, the defendants end up on the hook for their legal costs.
The Institute for Justice (IJ) sees this as a violation of Coloradans’ First Amendment rights. “With no oversight by any government official to screen out frivolous or legally insufficient complaints,” the group argues, “the system is rife with abuse, with disgruntled politicians or their allies routinely filing complaints to silence or intimidate those who would dare to criticize them.”
Tammy Holland had twice been sued for daring, without forming a political committee, to pay for newspaper ads criticizing the “common core” approach to education and suggesting that voters scrutinize school board members and candidates. The suits came from school board members