Tomorrow the State of Arizona is going to be the next to feel the wrath of the Institute of Justice as their case will be heard on behalf of Dina Galassini and her friends. Arizona has imposed regulations on people who get together to speak about political issues; regulations that are so confusing and burdensome that citizens are forced to obtain legal assistance before speaking about politics.
Dina Galassini is a concerned citizen of Fountain Hills, Ariz., who sent an email to some friends and neighbors asking them to oppose a road bond in their town. Dina asked them make homemade signs and join her in two street-corner rallies in October 2011. But the government told Dina to “cease any campaign related activities” until she had registered as a “political committee” and subjected herself to a bevy of regulations.
As a “political committee,” Dina and her friends would have to create a formal group, register with the government; appoint a director and treasurer; designate a bank account; put notices on their signs stating that they were “paid for” by a political committee; track their activities and be prepared to open their files to the government; and abide by other regulations containing—as the State of Arizona itself recognizes—numerous “pitfalls.” These complex and confusing regulations apply to practically all political speech in the state, and failure to abide by them can result in fines of up to $1,000.
Not surprisingly, these laws—and others like them nationwide—deter everyday Americans from getting involved in the political process in the first place. That is why Dina and the Institute for Justice have teamed up to fight big regulations foisted on small groups that just want to talk about issues that appear on the ballot.
“People should not have to hire lawyers and accountants and get the government’s permission to work with their friends and neighbors to speak out about politics,” said IJ Attorney Paul Avelar, who will argue on behalf of Galassini in court on Wednesday in Phoenix, Arizona at the Sandra Day O’Connor U.S. Courthouse in courtroom 503 at 1:30 p.m.