CFB Misinterpretation of Charter
August 11, 2011
By Neal Tepel, Laborpress Publisher
Campaign Finance Board (CFB) is now considering that the internal member communications of unions is an activity subject to CFB disclosure as a form of independent campaign spending. Disclosure of independent campaign expenditures should be required by individuals, corporations, political committees, and labor unions seeking to influence the general public about how to vote on candidates and ballot measures. However, CFB would be engaging in a profound overreach if it were to consider internal union member communications as part of the intent of that Charter amendment.
Membership organizations play a crucial role in the democratic process; and a critical ingredient in this role is the free and unregulated flow of information among the members of the organization. Both the CFB and the Charter Revision Commission cite dwindling civic participation and engagement as issues of concern. Internal communication encourages informed participation. Any consideration of regulating internal member communication would therefore be overreaching and misguided as well as a misinterpretation of the Charter.
We urge the CFB not to impose limitations on member-to-member communication which would have serious First Amendment implications.