Case Name: Wisconsin Prosperity Network v. Myse
Type of Case: First Amendment
Court: Wisconsin Supreme Court (Original Action)
Case #: 2010-AP-1937-OA
Filed on: August 9, 2010
Current status: Original action dismissed as improvidently granted, March 19, 2012
In 2010, the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision struck down federal prohibitions on “issue advocacy” political expression by corporate entities. In response, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board passed new regulations redefining “express advocacy” in an unprecedented and overly broad manner, which reached issue advocacy. The regulations would have placed onerous reporting and registration requirements on individuals and groups spending as little as $25 on political expression of any form, including t-shirts, buttons, and signs.
Troupis Law Office filed an original action on behalf of numerous individuals and advocacy groups of all ideological persuasions in the Wisconsin Supreme Court on August 9, 2010. The Court quickly acted to enjoin the GAB’s new regulations four days later. While this case was pending, other cases challenging the same regulations were filed in federal court, where plaintiffs won a major concession from the GAB, which agreed to cease enforcement of a contentious portion of the new regulations.
After joining the legal team representing the plaintiffs in the Wisconsin Supreme Court case, WILL President and General Counsel Rick Esenberg presented oral arguments to the court on September 6, 2011. Unfortunately, six months later the court dismissed the original action as improvidently granted, leaving the plaintiffs the option of refiling the case in a lower court. The challenge has continued in federal court cases.