Montana Supreme Court Upholds State's Ban on Corporate Campaign Cash
The Montana Supreme Court on Friday upheld the state’s century-old ban on direct corporate spending for or against state political candidates.
The court ruled 5-2 in favor of the state’s attorney general’s office and commissioner of political practices, which had defended the 1912 voter-passed initiative.
Western Tradition Partnership, a conservative political group based in Washington, D.C., and others had successfully argued in state District Court that the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission rendered the Montana law unconstitutional. District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock had ruled in their favor.
But the Supreme Court majority saw it differently.
“Citizens United does not compel a conclusion that Montana’s law prohibiting independent political expenditures by a corporation related to a candidate is unconstitutional,” Chief Justice Mike McGrath wrote for the majority. “Rather, applying the principles enunciated in Citizens United, it is clear that Montana has a compelling interest to impose the challenged rationally-tailored statutory restriction.“