May 18, 2016 •
Montana Political Contribution Limits Found Unconstitutional
On May 17, U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell ruled the current statutory campaign finance contribution limits in Montana unconstitutional. “Defendants have not proven that the campaign contribution limits … further the important state interest of combating quid pro quo corruption or its appearance,” Lovell wrote in the court’s order.
Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl said the ruling reinstates the contribution limits in place before the statute was enacted. Those contribution limits have been adjusted for inflation and are now $1,990 for governor and lieutenant governor; $990 for other statewide offices; $530 for District Court judge, Public Service Commission, and state Senate; and $330 for all other elected offices, including the state House. The limits are per candidate per election.
Attorney Matthew Monforton said the court’s ruling should mean there are no caps on contributions from any source” and will consider additional litigation if Motl doesn’t lift all limits, according to the Independent Record.
The statute struck down by Lovell in Lair v. Motl was enacted by an initiative vote in 1994.
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