Maine media groups challenge new law on foreign spending on referendums

Portland Press Herald
December 12, 2023

Maine’s two largest media associations, represented by Preti Flaherty attorneys Sigmund D. Schutz, Benjamin S. Piper, Jonathan G. Mermin, and Alexandra A. Harriman, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit challenging a Maine law burdening newspapers and broadcasters with “due diligence” requirements before they can run political advertisements.  The Maine Association of Broadcasters and Maine Press Association have alleged that the law violates the freedom of speech and freedom of the press protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. 

An Excerpt

“The Act imposes a censorship mandate on Maine’s news outlets,” Sigmund Schutz, an attorney for the MAB and MPA, said in a statement. “It is content-based regulation of political speech and is therefore subject to the highest level of constitutional scrutiny under the First Amendment. If news outlets are forced to investigate political advertisers and take down their ads, what other content and messaging will they be forced to investigate and remove next? Paid political advertising is entitled to First Amendment protections just like other editorial content.”

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