Judge Upholds Montana Gov's Political Spending Disclosure Rule - State and Federal Communications

September 1, 2020  •  

Judge Upholds Montana Gov’s Political Spending Disclosure Rule

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock - Gage Skidmore

A federal judge on Monday upheld an executive order by Gov. Steve Bullock requiring companies to report political spending if they want to bid on large state contracts.

U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell ruled the Illinois Opportunity Project does not have the legal standing to challenge the governor’s 2018 order requiring reporting of contributions even to so called dark money groups.

Judge Lovell had dismissed the complaint in January due to lack of standing.

However, he gave the Illinois Opportunity Project another chance to prove the executive order would cause it to suffer an actual or imminent, as opposed to hypothetical, loss of a legally protected right.

Under Bullock’s order, companies submitting bids for contracts valued at more than $25,000 for services or $50,000 for goods must disclose two years’ worth of political spending if the spending exceeds $2,500.

The order allows Montana to bring transparency to spending by groups classified as social welfare organizations under the federal tax code.

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