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U.S. Supreme Court upholds Montana campaign-finance disclosure law

Posted at 9:22 AM, Feb 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-20 11:24:04-05

BILLINGS- Montana’s law requiring that those spending money on elections disclose where those funds are coming from won a major battle Tuesday.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Montana’s Disclose Act, denying an appeal by a group called Montanans for Community Development.

Montana’s Commissioner for Political Practices, Jeff Mangan, called the decision “another win for transparency for Montana’s elections.”

The Disclose Act, which passed the Montana Legislature with bipartisan support in 2015, requires groups that engage in last-minute advertising in elections to make public how they spend money to influence the state’s elections.

Montanans for Community Development later sued, arguing the new law was an unconstitutional restriction and burden on their right to free speech.

MCD appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court last fall– arguing that only ‘major purpose’ groups could be required to disclose to Montanans who was trying to influence their votes, but the Supreme Court upheld previous rulings by refusing to take up the case.

Montana Governor Steve Bullock worked with both Democrats and Republicans to pass the Disclose Act praised the decision.

“We’ve led the way for the last century in making sure elections are made by people, not corporations, and that those that want to spend have to actually demonstrate where that spending is coming from and we’ll continue that fight,” Gov. Bullock said in a recorded statement on Twitter.

-Russ Riesinger reporting for MTN News