Appeals Court Reinstates Montana Campaign Contribution Limits - State and Federal Communications

October 10, 2012  •  

Appeals Court Reinstates Montana Campaign Contribution Limits

Flag of MontanaYesterday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated Montana’s campaign contribution limits under Montana Code Annotated §13-37-216, overruling the District Court. The District Court is ordered to outline the reasoning for its decision, according to AP reports.

On October 3, 2012, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, issuing a decision in Lair v. Murry, found the contribution limits in Montana Code Annotated §13-37-216 “prevent candidates from ‘amassing the resources necessary for effective campaign advocacy.’”

Yesterday, the District Court had denied a request to stay its Order, according to the Independent Record. The Attorney General and the Commissioner had appealed the October 3 Order to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Even though the District Court has ruled some of Montana’s political contribution limits unconstitutional, the Commissioner of Political Practices wants candidates and political donors to stick to the statutory restrictions.

On October 5, Commissioner James W. Murry issued a statement “strongly recommend[ing] that candidates, political committees, and contributors abide by the contribution limitations that are provided in the statute.”

In his statement, the Commissioner said, “This office will continue to review Judge Lovell’s October 3rd Order as well as any additional orders issued by the courts to determine the current status of the laws relating to campaign contributions.”

UPDATE: Today, the Commissioner has issued an additional statement regarding the Court of Appeal’s decision: “The result of the Ninth Circuit order is that contribution limits are in effect and will be enforced.”

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