U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle did not issue a ruling Monday on the libertarian Institute for Justice’s request for an injunction that would allow a group of Southwest Florida political activists to avoid disclosing campaign contributions, but he did question the group’s motivations, Florida Today reports.
The group was looking to overturn a law requiring groups that raise more than $500 to register and disclose finances:
Until then, an injuction would let them pool money for radio ads opposing a proposed state constitutional amendment on land planning without registering with the state and telling who gave the cash and what it was spent on. They also want Hinkle to block another requirement that the ads include a disclaimer saying who bought them.
Hinkle questioned whether the lawsuit was “just a little too convenient” because it was filed little more than a month before the election and claims the plaintiffs plan to spend $600 — just $100 more than the minimum for which reporting is required. He was worried it might be a ploy to get a ruling based on a hypothetical rather than factual scenario.
“If a group of law students got together to create a fictitious case this couldn’t have been done better,” Hinkle said. He asked the institute’s lawyer, Paul Sherman, “Are these real people?”
As Tristram Korten reported earlier, the plaintiffs say they are looking to run ads opposing Amendment 4.