Professor Esenberg fails to do his homework | Wis.Community

Professor Esenberg fails to do his homework

Rick Esenberg, the right-wing lawyer and blogger who presents himself as an independent, neutral observer, got a big story and headline in the on his opposition to a new Government Accountability Board rule on independent political advertising.

The last paragraph must have stung a little, though:

Esenberg told the justices that state statutes require anyone who spends more than $25 on express advocacy must register with the state and disclose their finances. Since the accountability board's rule still includes the expanded, reasonable interpretation definition of express advocacy, the board could require registration and disclosure from all manner of people who were not previously subject to it, he said.

 

If bloggers who spent more than $25 on an Internet connection start advocating for or against candidates, they would have to register with the state. The same would hold true for a college student who sends emails to friends asking them to vote for someone, Esenberg said. Even someone who spent $25 or more to buy a T-shirt or a create sign advocating for a candidate would be subject to disclosure requirements, he said.

 

"That's overly burdensome," he said...

 

[GAB Executive Director Kevin] Kennedy told reporters that the $25 threshold would be in play in the examples Esenberg gave only if a campaign were actually under way. Those requirements have been part of state law since 1973, he noted, adding that Esenberg has chosen not to challenge them.

The headline says he's a lawyer, and he teaches law at Marquette, so I guess he really is. I'm not, as he has pointed out in the past, so I know nothing about the law in his estimation and anything I say about legal matters can be dismissed.. But I do know how to read the state statutes.

Published

September 8, 2011 - 4:33pm

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