A state law imposing more onerous requirements on electioneering communications than provided for under current federal regulations has been upheld by the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Challenged by the Center for Individual Freedom as ambiguous and unconstitutionally vague, the Illinois campaign finance law broadens the definition of electioneering communication to include the internet as a media format subject to disclosure rules, not just radio and television. The law also provides disclosure requirements for ballot initiatives. The court ruled the requirements constitutional, citing the US Supreme Court's validation of, and emphasis on the constitutionality of, disclosure requirements in its Citizens United decision.
In addition to validating the stricter provisions on disclosure, the three-judge panel rejected the "major purpose" test for subjecting groups to disclosure requirements, upholding the provision that all groups hitting a minimum threshold of raising or spending money for campaign activity are subject to the law, as disclosure does not prevent anyone from speaking and does not impose a ceiling on campaign-related activities. The Center for Individual Freedom has not yet indicated whether it will appeal the ruling. One judge of the three-judge panel issued a separate opinion concurring in part, and dissenting in part from the majority opinion written by US Circuit Judge David Hamilton. The concurrence and dissent, by US Circuit Judge Richard Posner, noted that the vagueness of several provisions of the Illinois law rendered the statute unconstitutional and could potentially suppress political speech. The differing views of the judges highlights the controversy and complexity of campaign finance disclosure, and suggests that the issue faces much more debate before a resolution is reached.