April 23, 2006 - Posted at 12:16 p.m. CST
LITTLE ROCK (AP) _ If non-candidate groups run ads that are
critical of candidates' views, but don't urge a vote for or against
one, they don't have to disclose their finances.
That's the ruling of the state Ethics Commission. The panel said
the anti-abortion group Arkansas Right to Life doesn't have to
disclose its finances to campaign finance regulators if the group
decides to run ads critical of certain political candidates.
The ethics panel says such ads are considered protected by the
right of free speech. For the group to be exempt from campaign
finance reporting, the ads must not urge a vote for or against a
candidate and the money for the ad must come from the group's
general funds rather than contributions from a candidate.
Arkansas Right to Life has a political action committee, but
director Rose Mimms says the group hasn't decided yet what races to
run ads in and she says no one has sought an endorsement yet from