Supreme Court blocks Montana court ruling to restrict outside campaign spending

posted at 9:40 pm on February 17, 2012 by Tina Korbe

When a Montana court ruled in December that the state’s longstanding restrictions on outside campaign spending should be allowed to stand, it was clear that the Supreme Court would have to address the issue. That Montana ruling, after all, stood in contradiction to the SCOTUS’ landmark decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which gave corporations greater freedom to spend their own money in federal elections. Today, the Supremes said the Montana ruling cannot be enforced until the highest court in the country has a chance to weigh in:

The justices are now being asked whether state restrictions, as in the Montana case, should also be tossed out. Until the high court decides whether to tackle the issue, the current restrictions are suspended.

The Montana Supreme Court made its ruling December 30, saying there was a legitimate state interest to ensure independent expenditures by corporations “do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.”

The case is American Tradition Partnership Inc. v. Bullock (11A762).

The proliferation of Super PACs has become a subject of some debate this primary season. Newt Gingrich, for example, has repeatedly called on Mitt Romney to take responsibility for his Super PAC — and Mitt Romney has aptly responded that he is not legally allowed to do so. Romney has made the case that Super PACs are the undesirable result of unnecessary campaign finance legislation. As it turns out, at least one Democrat agrees with him:

I’ve been involved in Democratic politics for two decades, and I’ve had a front-row seat to observe outside groups’ tightening grip on American elections and reformers’ repeated efforts to loosen it — efforts that I’ve always supported.

Nevertheless, I’ve decided that the best way forward may be to go in the opposite direction: repeal what’s left of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, commonly known as McCain-Feingold, which severely limits the amount of money the parties can collect for their candidates.

Doing so wouldn’t get rid of the role of money in American politics. But by channeling it back into the parties, it would reintroduce accountability to the system, the lack of which is what makes super PACs so pernicious.

For the record, I’m just fine with Super PACs — and I also don’t see why party fundraising should be limited. Yes, it all leaves the fact-checking burden up to the media consumer — but, regardless of whether we realized it in the days of Walter Cronkite, that’s always been the case. “Test everything; hold fast to what is good.”


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

michelle obama searched my lunch box today….

thedevilinside on February 17, 2012 at 9:43 PM

Remember when the great “FIGHTER” John McCain took the “money out of politics” with McCain-Fiengold?

Do any politicians tell the truth?

THROW-THEM-ALL-OUT!!!

PappyD61 on February 17, 2012 at 9:44 PM

Could we have a link for your second box? Who was it a quote from?

Steven Den Beste on February 17, 2012 at 9:45 PM

michelle obama searched my lunch box today….

thedevilinside on February 17, 2012 at 9:43 PM

I hope there wasn’t some campaign funds in there..

Electrongod on February 17, 2012 at 9:45 PM

“Fight with me, my friends”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHA0XxubCG0

PappyD61 on February 17, 2012 at 9:45 PM

THROW-THEM-ALL-OUT!!!

PappyD61 on February 17, 2012 at 9:44 PM

Will their replacements be any better?

Norky on February 17, 2012 at 9:52 PM

The Supreme Court “gave corporations greater freedom to spend their own money in federal elections”
How about if it is tax-payer money, like say…ohhhhhh Solyndra?
GE?

KOOLAID2 on February 17, 2012 at 9:52 PM

It appears that ‘Party’ is no longer a gathering for social or amusement.

egmont on February 17, 2012 at 10:02 PM

A government “fix” requires more fixing because of the unintended (and arguably worse) consequences?
 
Clearly an anomaly.

rogerb on February 17, 2012 at 10:03 PM

For the record, I’m just fine with Super PACs — and I also don’t see why party fundraising should be limited. Yes, it all leaves the fact-checking burden up to the media consumer — but, regardless of whether we realized it in the days of Walter Cronkite, that’s always been the case. “Test everything; hold fast to what is good.”

No, the cure to all of this is to allow unlimited contributions to the candidate’s own campaign, from individual or corporate contributors, but with immediate and full disclosure, on-line, as soon as the funds are deposited. Do this, and you can easily, and constitutionally, get rid of the current system. Ed has been arguing the same for years, and it is the only way to keep things honest.

What it means, is that a Soros can’t hide his money manipulations anymore without risking serious criminal penalty. If you’re on the left, well, Exxon can’t hide their contributions anymore either.

Transparency to the left, however, is like showing the Cross to Dracula.

TXUS on February 17, 2012 at 10:07 PM

You dumb right wingers have to use economic power to crush the opposition like the left uses the pop culture and the media.

If you don’t start doing it with art, all is lost.

Actually, it is lost already since the illegals will swing elections very soon.

Oh well.

IlikedAUH2O on February 17, 2012 at 10:11 PM

It’s not like the Democrats don’t have free political advertisement through the MSM anyway.

Sometimes you can spend all the money you want, you aren’t going to sell a crap product.

AZfederalist on February 17, 2012 at 10:13 PM

Your elections, bought and paid for by the man behind the screen.

mythicknight on February 17, 2012 at 10:14 PM

Speaking of Campaign Fund Raising/Bundlers/SuperPacs
and who/how much/what group is attacking who ads!!
==================================================

Latest Presidential Independent Expenditures

GROUP POSITION SPENT

Red, White & Blue FOR: Santorum, Rick $668,500
Red, White & Blue FOR: Santorum, Rick $134,740
Restore Our Future AGAINST: Santorum, Rick $114,417
Winning Our Future FOR: Gingrich, Newt $68,789
Winning Our Future FOR: Gingrich, Newt $65,806
==============================================

http://www.opensecrets.org/

canopfor on February 17, 2012 at 10:18 PM

canopfor on February 17, 2012 at 10:22 PM

michelle obama searched my lunch box today….

thedevilinside on February 17, 2012 at 9:43 PM

She also downsized my snickers today just like her husband has downsized the US.

ouldbollix on February 17, 2012 at 11:29 PM

I don’t believe in SuperPACs or any of that. Real campaign reform would start with the recognition that representatives represent a given group of people and that the election of those rep’s isn’t the domain of anybody that isn’t from that district. If you don’t live there, it’s not your business.

Therefore – Individuals and corporations can only donate $5000 per election cycle to an individual candidate. You can only donate to a candidate that will represent you ie the district you live (vote)in. In a year with a presidential election, and a Senate election in your state, You can donate $15,000 one pres. candidate, one Senate, one rep. If a candidate chooses not to spend all the money donated to them, then they can send the money to their Party, which will be the only way the national parties can get money.

Corporation’s can only make donations in the district where their headquarters is located.

Individuals and corporatons are free to donate/advertise/propagandize all they want about issues, but not about candiates.

That way;
1. Local elections stay local
2. Parties are made less powerful
3. The election becomes more about issues, less about individuals
4. Focuses representatives onto who they represent, since they won’t be able to get donations representing big corporations etc.

HoosierHawk on February 18, 2012 at 5:43 AM

Do any politicians tell the truth?

PappyD61 on February 17, 2012 at 9:44 PM

I have only known one to do so in my lifetime and that is Palin.

unseen on February 18, 2012 at 7:19 AM

it all leaves the fact-checking burden up to the media consumer

So factcheck isnt good enought for you?

nicknack60 on February 18, 2012 at 8:20 AM

HoosierHawk on February 18, 2012 at 5:43 AM

It is your type of thinking that is the problem. Too many people cannot stand how other people use their freedom. All this regulating and restricting of the 1st Amendment gets us deeper and deeper toward progressive Nirvana Hell. The founders felt that a vigilant and educated society was necessary for democracy to work, but we’re too busy or lazy to bother, so let’s rein in that damned 1st amendment so we don’t get brainwashed by someone else’s free speech! And while we’re at it, that free exercise of religion part is starting to be a pain in the butt, too! Then there’s that 2nd Amend…

cartooner on February 18, 2012 at 8:54 AM

For some reason, this seems to be a hot button here in MT. The people think of themselves as independent and don’t like outsiders trying to tell them what to do. Rep. Rehberg(R) running against Sen. Tester(D) offered to not accept any big money from outside the state and Tester turned him down. This is a winnable battle ground campaign for the repubs. Rehberg needs all the money help he can get.

Kissmygrits on February 18, 2012 at 9:31 AM

Ok, so if you all are just fine with outside contributions why do I always hear complaints about Barry’s 2008 campaign getting millions from untraceable, and likely overseas sources?

Nathan_OH on February 18, 2012 at 9:37 AM

If the last election and the consequences didn’t reveal we have a problem with corruption and pay for play then I don’t know what would get through some people’s heads.

I’ve thought for years the best solution was to set up a commission which takes political donations and then provides them laundered to the campaign with a law that makes it a felony to reveal the source of the donation. If the politicians can’t be sure who gave them money, they don’t know who to give presents to.

I vehemently deny that money and speech are the same thing. If that were indeed to be found a fact, i want a 1st amendment review of the taxation system.

aniptofar on February 18, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Will their replacements be any better?

Norky on February 17, 2012 at 9:52 PM

Not of necessity… and then they need to be fired.

In fact, good or ill, if an elected representative is holding office for more than two terms, they should probably be fired. That is how things used to run in the 19th century until Progressives got the bright idea that you needed people to hang around to help government ‘do’ things…

Fire on general principles after two terms.

Doesn’t matter how ‘good’ they are, they need to get a real job by then.

ajacksonian on February 18, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Could we have a link for your second box? Who was it a quote from?

Steven Den Beste on February 17, 2012 at 9:45 PM

NY Times, Campaign Stops blog

February 16, 2012, 10:17 pm
A Better Way to Buy Politicians
By LINDSAY MARK LEWIS …

Lindsay Mark Lewis, the executive director of the Progressive Policy Institute, was the finance director for the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2006.

Now why is a progressive suddenly in favor of this?

JimC on February 18, 2012 at 6:02 PM

My concern is not about corporation money, but foreign money.

Ken James on February 19, 2012 at 11:55 AM