Supreme Court Freezes Montana’s 100-Year-Old Law Banning Corporate Campaign Spending
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Donny Ferguson, executive director of American Tradition Partners
Montana’s century-old law banning corporate spending in elections is now in limbo, after the U.S. Supreme Court put a hold on a decision that upheld the prohibition.
After opponents of the Montana law lost their case before the state Supreme Court, they asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the ruling. While the nation’s highest court decides what it will do, it stayed the Montana verdict, which effectively allows corporations in the state to contribute to campaigns for the time being.
The Montana ruling is at odds with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which allowed unlimited corporate spending.
Since 1912, Montana has prohibited corporations from contributing to political candidates and committees under the Corrupt Practices Act. But following the 5-4 Citizens United decision, which threw out federal limits on corporate and union campaign spending, a anti-environmental group, American Tradition Partnership Inc., teamed with the Montana Shooting Sports Association and Ken Champion, owner of a painting and paper hanging company, to file suit in Montana to contest the state’s ban on corporate donations.
Some experts see the high court’s move as a sign that it intends to reverse Montana’s ruling and nullify the law. Others said justices opposed to Citizens United will use this opportunity to revisit the ruling and argue that it has had a negative impact on elections.
“Montana’s experience, and experience elsewhere since this court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, make it exceedingly difficult to maintain that independent expenditures by corporations ‘do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption,’” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote.
To Learn More:
Two Justices Suggest Citizens United Ruling Should Be Reconsidered In Montana Case (by Robert Barnes, Washington Post)
High Court Halts Montana Corporate Funds Ban (by Greg Stohr, Bloomberg)
Montana Reaffirms Ban on Corporate Election Spending; Sets up Clash with Citizens United Ruling (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
- Top Stories
- Unusual News
- Where is the Money Going?
- U.S. and the World
- Appointments and Resignations
- Latest News
- Labeled “Losers” by Romney and Palin, Tesla Motors Pays off Government Loan 5 Years Early
- Neighbors Sue Photographer in “Rear Window” Case
- Appeals Court Rules Government Cannot Deny Visa on “Terrorism” Grounds without a Stated Reason
- Director of the National Reconnaissance Office: Who Is Betty Sapp?
- Chemical Safety Board Accuses ATF of Interfering with Probe of Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion