Great Falls Tribune: State gets it right again on corrupt practices ruling

In the same way that the state of Montana could show the federal government a thing or two about balancing a budget, the state and its Supreme Court have gotten it right in terms of corporate financing of political speech.

The justices Friday reversed a lower court and reinstated Montana’s 100-year-old, citizen-passed Corrupt Practices Act, which banned direct corporate spending on political candidates or committees.

That goes against the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling called Citizens United, which flung open the gates to “free” corporate speech in the form of cash contributions to political campaigns.

The Montana court’s reinstatement apparently applies only to state and local elections, as opposed to federal elections for president and Congress; the justices said Citizens United didn’t address those lower-level elections, which they said are covered by Montana’s Constitution and the Corrupt Practices Act.

The case before the Montana court was filed by a Colorado-based corporation that has been fighting for unfettered corporate speech on multiple fronts.

A district court agreed with the plaintiffs’ contention that Montana’s century-old ban on such spending flies in the face of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.

Read the whole article >>