October 17, 2012 •
Montana Political Contribution Limits Remain, For Now
Stay of Lower Court Decision Remains Pending Resolution of Appeal
Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a 41 page opinion explaining its continuing stay of a lower court’s decision ruling certain statutory contribution limits in Montana were unconstitutional and unenforceable.
On October 3, 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.’”
On October 9, after the District Court had denied a request to stay its Order, the Court of Appeals reinstated Montana’s campaign contribution limits, overruling the District Court. The District Court was ordered to outline the reasoning for its decision.
The next day, on October 10, the District Court issued a 38 page Opinion and Order detailing its reasoning. The Court of Appeals has rejected the District Court’s arguments, concluding “the state is likely to succeed on appeal.”
James. W. Murry, the Commissioner of Political Practices, has stated “that contribution limits are in effect and will be enforced.”
October 4, 2012 •
Big Sky Contribution Limits in Montana
Court Rules Contribution Limits Unconstitutional
A Federal Court has ruled Montana’s contribution limits are unconstitutional under the First Amendment.
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.’”
The Court has enjoined the state from enforcing the provisions of the code relating to limiting political contributions.
Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock issued the following statement: “In declaring our campaign contribution limits unconstitutional, a federal judge has effectively put Montana’s elections up for auction to the highest bidder. My office will aggressively pursue all legal remedies available to overturn this decision, including filing an emergency stay before the U.S. 9th Circuit of Appeals —the court which upheld Montana’s contribution limits just a decade ago.”
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