Court: No block of Montana campaign law ahead of electionThe U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to block a Montana law limiting campaign contributions to candidates for state office, leaving the caps in place at least through the November general election.
By: By Dan Whitcomb, Reuters
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to block a Montana law limiting campaign contributions to candidates for state office, leaving the caps in place at least through the November general election.
The high court upheld a ruling by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of appeals earlier this month that temporarily reinstated Montana’s right to regulate campaign contributions after a lower court struck down the restrictions as unconstitutional.
Several conservative advocacy groups had asked the Supreme Court to intervene in the case and temporarily block enforcement of the 9th Circuit’s decision. But the court, in a one-paragraph ruling, denied the petition.
The legal fight over Montana’s campaign finance laws has been closely watched following a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that found corporations and unions had a constitutional free-speech right to spend freely to support or oppose political candidates.
Montana law caps contributions by individuals and political committees at $630 for gubernatorial candidates, $310 for other statewide offices and at $160 for all other public offices.
Total limits for political parties are $22,600 for governor, $8,150 for other statewide candidates, $1,300 for state senators and $800 for all other public offices. Donations by political action committees to candidates for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are capped at $2,650 and $1,600 respectively
But U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell found it was unconstitutional to cap donations by individuals, political action committees and political parties and ordered that the limits not be enforced.