Clean Campaign Act Struck Down in Montana - State and Federal Communications

January 19, 2022  •  

Clean Campaign Act Struck Down in Montana

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A federal judge struck down Montana’s Clean Campaign Act, holding the law violates free speech and due process rights of political committees.

The law requires political committees to give candidates notice when the committee sends out negative mailers within 10 days of an election.

The court held the law was a content-based restriction on free speech, leading the court to analyze the law under the strict scrutiny standard.

Under this standard, the law may remain only if the law is found to be narrowly tailored to further a compelling governmental interest.

Judge Donald W. Molloy found the law did not combat corruption but could end up chilling political speech.

Molloy further held the law violated the Equal Protection Clause, affecting political action committees differently based on the type of content the committees put out.

It is not yet known if the ruling will be appealed.

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