Posted: Oct 6, 2012 4:33 PM by Marnee Banks (Helena)
Montana's campaign finance laws are changing dramatically.
One after another, after another, after another, judges have declared three of Montana's cornerstone campaign finance laws unconstitutional.
Corporations can now politick by purchasing ads advocating for and against candidates. Political parties can now endorse judicial candidates, seats that have historically been A-political. And now individuals, political action committees & political parties can donate unlimited amounts of cash to candidates.
Helena attorney James Brown has been involved in litigating these cases and could be called the man behind the changes. He has drafted or helped draft the legal arguments, argued the cases in court and personally & politically believes in the cases.
Click the video link to listen to his entire interview. He answers tough questions about why he is litigating the cases, will the changes lead to corruption, and what happens to elections now that there are changes.
Brown says there are numerous sections of Montana's campaign finance laws that are still unconstitutional. He doesn't foresee any more lawsuits, but he says he hopes the state Legislature looks at the entire statute next session and makes some significant revisions.
Friday the Commissioner of Political Practices, Jim Murry, issued a statement strongly urging candidates to still abide by the old campaign limits.
He says because Attorney General Steve Bullock (D-MT) has filed a stay in the case the laws are in flux. Murry says once the court has decided his office will enforce Montana law consistent with the order.
Under the old limits individuals and political action committees could donate $630 to a gubernatorial candidates, and political parties can donate up to $22,600.
Democratic candidate for Governor Steve Bullock says his campaign will not be accepting contributions over the old limits. Republican candidate for Governor Rick Hill told us he would run his campaign consistent with Montana law, whatever that ends up being.