WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court refused Monday to hear an appeal from a Virginia-based anti-abortion group that wanted to be exempted from campaign finance disclosure regulations.
The Real Truth About Abortion Inc., which was formerly called The Real Truth About Obama Inc., wanted to stop the Federal Election Commission and the Justice Department from enforcing fundraising and advertising regulations against it.
The organization, which was formed by anti-abortion activists, says its “issue advocacy” amounts to constitutionally protected free speech that does not expressly advocate the election or defeat of a candidate. The group, based in Fredericksburg, also says that FEC rules defining PACs and their activity are unconstitutionally broad and vague.
A federal judge in Richmond rejected the organization’s challenge, and a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld that ruling in June.
Appeals court Judge Paul V. Niemeyer wrote that the FEC “adopted a sensible approach to determining whether an organization qualifies for PAC status” and that the policy “does not unlawfully deter protected speech.”
The organization wanted to run ads on its website and on conservative talk shows before the 2008 election highlighting what it claims are Obama’s views on abortion. According to court papers, one of those ads featured an Obama-like voice saying the then-candidate favored taxpayer funding of all abortions, more money for Planned Parenthood and more liberal justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. A female narrator then asked: “Is this the change you can believe in?”
The group continued its legal battle after Obama’s election in hopes of running ads during his re-election campaign.