Jeff Lewis weighs in on Fresno Anti-SLAPP fight over campaign finance disclosure.
The Anti-SLAPP Gambit Jeff Lewis featured on GV Wire
Anti-SLAPP, or “strategic lawsuits against public participation,” is mainly used to protect First Amendment free speech rights. The losing party would eventually have to pay the winner’s court costs.
Jeff Lewis, a Rolling Hills Estates (Los Angeles County) attorney and expert in anti-SLAPP says using the motion to combat election law is “unprecedented in my experience.”
“This is a very creative application of the anti-SLAPP law. The key issue for the court will be whether funding of a campaign is ‘protected activity’ within the meaning of California’s anti-SLAPP law,” Lewis told Politics 101 via email. He is not involved in the Bredefeld-Chavez legal matter.
Lewis says generally judges are “deferential to cities and county and how they administer laws,” but less so when election law brushes up against the First Amendment.
Bredefeld has said multiple times that the county’s plan is an unfair law that protects incumbents — existing supervisors are allowed to transfer funds from prior accounts into a new re-election account.
The Bredefeld-Chavez anti-SLAPP motion will be heard on May 4 in front of Fresno County Superior Court Judge Jon Skiles.
Bredefeld engaged in one recent anti-SLAPP suit. He was successful in his motion against fellow Fresno City Councilman Nelson Esparza when Esparza filed a defamation lawsuit. The city agreed to cover Esparza’s costs to Bredefeld, $25,000.