Tammy Holland

Tammy Holland lives with her husband and their teenage son on a farm in rural Colorado. She cares deeply about her son’s education. In September 2015, she took out two ads in her local newspaper to alert readers to an upcoming school-board election. Incumbent board members didn’t appreciate the publicity and sued Tammy—twice—for her simple act of civic engagement.

This was possible because Colorado outsourced enforcement of its campaign-finance laws to the public at large. Any private individual could have their political opponents hauled into court merely by alleging that they violated the state’s campaign-finance laws. In 2016, Tammy teamed up with the Institute for Justice to challenge this abuse-prone system in federal court. In June 2018, the court struck down the state’s private-enforcement system as a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Tammy and all Coloradans are now free to express their political opinions without fear of being sued into silence.

  • January 21, 2016    |   First Amendment

    Colorado Private Enforcement

    Colorado’s private-enforcement law empowers political insiders to silence any ordinary speaker they disagree with.

    In September 2015, Tammy Holland—a small-town mom in rural Colorado—took out two ads in her local newspaper.  The ads alerted readers to an upcoming school-board election and urged voters to familiarize themselves with all the candidates. For that act of civic engagement, Tammy found herself sued—twice—by school-board officials. This was possible because Colorado outsourced enforcement…

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