May 27, 2015 •
Montana Contribution Limits to Be Tested Again
On May 26, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a lower court’s ruling in Lair v. Bullock. The lower court concluded Montana’s political contribution limits were unconstitutionally low. The appellate court found the lower district court applied the wrong legal standard prior to permanently enjoining the enforcement of Montana’s restrictions on campaign contributions by individuals, political action committees, and political parties.
The case was remanded back to the district court to allow Montana’s political contribution limits to be tested under the new and more restrictive standard of Citizens United v. FEC. This new standard, the court stated, means, “The prevention of quid pro quo corruption, or its appearance, is the only sufficiently important state interest to justify limits on campaign contributions. Before Citizens United, it was enough to show the state’s interest was simply to prevent the influence contributors of large sums have on politicians, or the appearance of such influence. No longer so.”
Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathon Motl said he was confident the limits will be sustained, according to the Missoulian.
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