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‘Citizens United’ Backlash’

 

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Montana Supreme Court Upholds State’s Corporate Campaign Spending Ban [2]

By Mike Sacks

WASHINGTON — The Montana Supreme Court has put itself on a collision course with the U.S. Supreme Court by upholding a century-old state law [3] that bans corporate spending in state and local political campaigns.

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The law, which was passed by Montana voters in 1912 to combat Gilded Age corporate control over much of Montana’s government, states that a “corporation may not make … an expenditure in connection with a candidate or a political party that supports or opposes a candidate or a political party.” In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court, in its landmark Citizens United v. Federal Election Commissiondecision [4], struck down a similar federal statute, holding that independent electoral spending by corporations “do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption” that such laws were enacted to combat.

That reasoning — described by the Citizens United dissenters as a “crabbed view of corruption [5]” — compelled 23 of the 24 states with independent spending bans to stop enforcing their restrictions, according to Edwin Bender, executive director of the Helena, Mont.-based National Institute on Money in State Politics [6]. Montana, however, stood by its 1912 law, …  Read More [2]