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West Virginia: arguments in case strict disclosure requirements for political ads

The Charleston Gazette reports: Anonymous advertising in West Virginia political campaigns would open the door for a repeat of the 2004 Supreme Court race, where voters did not learn until later who was spending millions of dollars on behalf of candidates, several lawyers told a federal judge Wednesday.

But the Center for Individual Freedom argued that West Virginia s election laws - which require the group to disclose its donors if it buys political advertising - violate its free speech rights under the First Amendment.

The Virginia-based organization asked U.S. District Judge David A. Faber to grant it an injunction allowing it to advertise in the upcoming state Supreme Court election without disclosing its spending or its donors. The state s primary election is May 13.

Last month, the center filed a lawsuit against the state s top election official, Secretary of State Betty Ireland. Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney Timothy Boggess was also NAMEd in the suit as a representative of all the state s prosecutors.

Three of the four Democratic candidates for state Supreme Court have joined in fighting the injunction, as have the West Virginia AFL-CIO, the state Education Association, the Council of Churches and other groups. -- Lawyers argue over rules for political ads

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