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Appeals court reverses ruling that part of Miss. campaign finance law is unconstitutional

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JACKSON, Mississippi — A federal appeals panel has upheld the constitutionality of a Mississippi campaign finance law that requires reporting by people or groups that spend at least $200 to support or oppose a ballot initiative.

The three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on Friday reversed a 2013 decision by U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock in Aberdeen, Mississippi.

Aycock found the $200 reporting threshold too burdensome for smaller groups.

Five Oxford residents sued in 2011, challenging Mississippi's campaign finance reporting requirements for those supporting or opposing ballot initiatives. They argued the law limited their fundamental free-speech and association rights.

The 5th Circuit panel said Mississippi's reporting requirements are similar to others states although Mississippi's $200 threshold is on the high end of state disclosure laws.

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