Winston-Salem Journal: Appeals court throws out suit testing ‘Stand By Your Ad’

RALEIGH -- As money increasingly floods its political campaigns, North Carolina is figuring out how to navigate the shifting ways that money can buy influence.

A lawsuit testing the strength of the state’s Stand By Your Ad law, which requires that political TV and radio ads disclose who is paying for them, was thrown out by the N.C. Court of Appeals this week. But the ruling did widen the definition of who must be identified in the advertisements.

The lawsuit challenged the state Republican Party’s decision in 2010 to buy political ads for a candidate for state Senate, who then claimed to have paid for the ads through a campaign committee without disclosing the outside support. The judges ruled the Democratic incumbent had effectively done the same thing.

Melissa Price Kromm, director of N.C. Voters for Clean Elections, said the ruling will ultimately help the state sort out how to ensure full disclosure in campaign finance.

“This is a stepping stone to the concept of Stand by Your Ad,” she said Wednesday. “It’s a step in the right direction. Every cycle, we see new loopholes being used. We’re trying to understand it – figure out how it works, how do we fix it, how do we have clean elections.”

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