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1980 ILL. SOCIALIST WKRS. v. STATE OF ILL.

November 30, 1981

1980 ILLINOIS SOCIALIST WORKERS.C.AMPAIGN, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
STATE OF ILLINOIS BOARD OF ELECTIONS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Marshall, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

The 1980 Illinois Socialist Workers Campaign Committee and several of its current and former members brought this action for declaratory and injunctive relief against the State of Illinois Board of Elections and several state officials, to prevent enforcement of the reporting and disclosure provisions of the Illinois Act to Regulate Campaign Financing, Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 46 ¶¶ 9-10, 9-11, 9-13, 9-26 (1979). By stipulation of the parties, the case has been tried to the court on an agreed record consisting of the administrative record developed before the Illinois Board of Elections.

FINDINGS OF FACT

A. Parties

Plaintiffs are the 1980 Illinois Socialist Workers Campaign Committee and Socialist Workers Mayoral Campaign Committee ("Committees"), unincorporated political organizations formed to promote and support candidates of the Socialist Workers Party ("SWP") in the 1980 general and 1979 Mayoral elections, and individuals who are current or former members of the Committees.

Defendant State of Illinois Board of Elections ("Board"), is an administrative body appointed by the Governor of Illinois to supervise implementation of the state election laws. See ch. 46 Ill.Rev.Stat. ¶ 1A-1. Defendants Tyrone C. Fahner and Richard M. Daley are the Attorney General of Illinois and State's Attorney of Cook County respectively, with authority to prosecute willful violations of the Act. Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 46, ¶ $9-26. The remaining defendants are members of the Board.

B. The Legislative Scheme

The Illinois Act to Regulate Campaign Financing ("Act") was passed by the Illinois legislature in 1978. Paragraph 9-10 requires the treasurer of every political committee to file reports of campaign contributions for each election in which the committee has accepted contributions or made expenditures. This section also requires the treasurer of each political committee to file annual reports of campaign contributions and expenditures.

Paragraph 9-11(4) requires that reports of campaign contributions disclose the names and addresses of every person who has contributed in excess of $150.00 in the previous twelve months. Paragraph 9-11(6) contains a similar requirement for any transfer of funds to or from a political committee.

Paragraph 9-13(4) requires that the annual report also disclose the name and address of every person who has contributed in excess of $150.00 during that reporting year. Further, ¶ 9-13(11) requires that the report disclose the names and addresses of every person who has received expenditures in excess of $150.00 in the previous twelve months.

Paragraph 9-26 makes the willful filing of incomplete information a misdemeanor.

C. Procedural Background and Agreed Record

In January, March, April, July and October of 1980, the Committees filed the required reports with the Board, but failed to disclose the names and addresses of contributors or those who received campaign expenditures. The reports included only the dates and amounts of contributions received by the Committees, and were accompanied by letters explaining the information was being withheld based on first amendment grounds consistent with a stipulated settlement entered into by the Federal Election Commission and the SWP in Socialist Workers 1974 National Campaign Committee v. Federal Election Commission, No. 74-1338 (D.D.C. 1979).

On September 4, 1980 the Board issued citations directing plaintiffs to comply with the Act and provide the withheld information. On November 24, 1980 the Board filed administrative complaints against all of the plaintiffs, alleging violations of the Act. The Board held an administrative hearing on November 25, December 17 and 30, 1980, before an appointed Hearing Officer. On January 6, 1981 the Hearing Officer issued a memorandum opinion finding that while plaintiffs had violated the Act, "there is no doubt that respondents [plaintiffs here] have established a basis for an exemption by meeting the standards of Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 [96 S.Ct. 612, 46 L.Ed.2d 659] (1976)", but concluding that the Board had no authority to grant an exemption from the disclosure requirements. AR at 2, 6, 21-22. The Board, on January 19, 1981, in accordance with the recommendation of their General Counsel, adopted the findings of fact and conclusions of law of the hearing examiner, and directed plaintiffs to provide the withheld financial information. On February 6, 1981, counsel for the Board notified plaintiffs that the Board intended to "proceed to enforcement" of the Order.

The parties have agreed to try this case on an agreed record ("AR") which consists of the evidence adduced at the ...


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