Restoring America urges state appeals court to let its ads back on the air

10/18/2011 11:49 AM

UPDATED 5:12 p.m. — A lawyer for the Republican group Restoring America filed a motion Tuesday afternoon with the Court of Appeals urging it to strike a circuit judge’s restraining order that temporarily bars it from airing ads in the Kentucky governor’s race.

After the Appeals Court rejected the group’s initial filing because of technical problems, the organization’s attorney re-filed the motion with court late Tuesday.

The group’s attorney asked for emergency relief from the restraining order — which requires proving that the restraining order would cause irreparable harm.

The two-and-a-half-page motion, filed by Louisville attorney Douglas J. Hallock, said the restraining order harmed the Restoring America campaign committee and Restoring America Inc., because it would “suppress their free speech in regard to this election.” View the filing here: Restoring America Appeal.ashx.pdf

Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate granted the temporary restraining order Monday at the request of the Kentucky Democratic Party. The Democrats argued that Restoring America’s unauthorized campaign committee violated Kentucky campaign finance laws by not disclosing on its fundraising report last week the names of those who donated $1.365 million to the group.

Instead, Restoring America listed as its sole donation a transfer of money from a non-profit organization Restoring America, Inc., that formed a week before the campaign committee was created.

But it’s unclear how the Court of Appeals will be able to take up Restoring America’s motion because there hasn’t been a final ruling by the Franklin Circuit Court on the temporary restraining order that it can appeal.

Hallock’s filing compares Restoring America to the Republican Governors Association’s spin-off group that ran ads in Kentucky earlier this year. The RGA transferred money over to start that group. The key difference is that the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance told the RGA it could only do that if it didn’t raise money specifically for the Kentucky election, and if it did, it would have to disclose the donors.

Hallock did not immediately return a call for comment.

Restoring America also argued that Franklin Circuit Court didn’t have jurisdiction over campaign finance matters and only the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance does.

But the Kentucky Democratic Party’s original motion argued that Franklin Circuit Court did have jurisdiction because violating Kentucky’s campaign finance law is a felony offense, according to section 121.990 of the state law.

(You can read more coverage of the political and legal maneuverings as well as the original restraining order and the group’s ads. )

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