Attorney General Neronha successfully defends state


election finance disclosure laws


United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed the constitutionality of state election finance law requiring disclosures and disclaimers for certain election-related expenditures of $1,000 or more


PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha’s defense of a state law requiring disclosure of persons or entities that spend more than $1,000 on certain election communications was upheld by a federal appeals court decision in The Gaspee Project v. Mederos. Attorney General Neronha applauded the decision upholding the constitutionality of Rhode Island’s Independent Expenditures and Electioneering Communications Act (Act), a law designed to promote transparency and maintain the integrity of elections.


“The First Circuit’s recent decision upholding Rhode Island’s campaign expenditure disclosure law is a win for transparency, and accordingly for all Rhode Islanders. As I have said previously, state campaign and election finance laws exist for a reason: to inform Rhode Islanders of the sources of financial support, directly or indirectly, for candidates for public office. Such information is critical to voters evaluating the motivations and positions of those who would hold high office,” said Attorney General Neronha. “An informed electorate is integral to our democracy, and the Court’s decision significantly advances that principle.”


In 2019, plaintiffs challenged the constitutionality of the Act which, subject to certain exceptions, requires disclosures and disclaimers for election-related expenditures of over $1,000 or more in any calendar year for either independent expenditures or electioneering communications. Attorney General Neronha defended the constitutionality of the statute in Federal District Court and later before the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.


On August 28, 2020, Judge Mary S. McElroy of the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island issued a decision dismissing the plaintiffs’ lawsuit and upholding the constitutionality of the Act. Plaintiffs subsequently appealed to the First Circuit, which issued a decision on Tuesday.


Writing for the Court, Judge Bruce M. Selya noted: “Mindful that a well-informed electorate is as vital to the survival of a democracy as air is to the survival of human life, we hold that the challenged provisions of the Act bear a substantial relation to a sufficiently important governmental interest and are narrowly tailored enough to withstand exacting scrutiny.”


The First Circuit also noted how Rhode Island’s Act is consistent with United States Supreme Court precedent.


Assistant Attorney General Michael Field and Special Assistant Attorney General Katherine Sadeck litigated the case on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General.


Read the decision here.



Ninety-three-percent of coronavirus cases in the U.S. are linked to the Delta variant. That's according to the latest numbers from the CDC which looked at the last two weeks of July. However, the Delta strain accounts for 98-percent of the infections when looking at the region where states like Iowa and Kansas are located.       A new report shows fewer jobs were added in the U.S. than expected. Payroll processing firm ADP says 330-thousand positions were added last month, which is much fewer than the 650-thousand jobs analysts were expecting. The ADP figures come ahead of the jobs report that'll be released by the federal government on Friday.       Attorneys for former President Trump are attempting to block the release of Trump's tax records to a U.S. House committee. A motion was filed with a federal court after the Justice Department gave the go-ahead for the Treasury Department to release the documents. Trump's lawyers claim there isn't a legitimate reason for Congress to access them.       A majority of New Yorkers want Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign. That's according to the results of a Marist survey which shows 59-percent of New Yorkers feel that way. Meantime, the poll results also say 32-percent think the governor should serve out the rest of his term.       There's a new service that will help out folks in trouble. Citizen, an app that notifies users about crimes and emergencies in their area, is rolling out a new service that will call 911 for those who need help. It will set users back about 20-dollars.       Guests at the upcoming Met Gala in New York must show proof they're fully vaccinated against COVID and wear masks. This follows news that all New York Fashion Week shows next month will require COVID shots too. The gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, called "America: A Lexicon of Fashion," will be held on September 13th.