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Election Law

Critic Calls Montana Ruling on Corporate Campaign Contributions an ‘Act of Defiance’

Posted Jan 4, 2012 2:53 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The Montana Supreme Court has ruled the controversial Supreme Court decision Citizens United doesn’t require it to overturn a state law that bars corporations from making independent campaign expenditures for or against candidates.

The Montana high court cited several reasons why the law survived a First Amendment challenge, report the National Law Journal and the Associated Press. The court said the state has a compelling interest in regulating campaign spending because of its unique history of political corruption. The court also pointed out differences between the state statute and the federal one at issue in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

James Bopp Jr. told the National Law Journal that the Montana Supreme Court decision is "an amazing act of defiance of the Supreme Court." He represents a PAC in a similar case pending in Montana federal court.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United found that corporations have a First Amendment right to expressly support political candidates. The Montana ruling, issued on Dec. 30, is Western Tradition Partnership v. Attorney General.

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