‘Citizens United’ Backlash: Montana Supreme Court Upholds State’s Corporate Campaign Spending Ban

WASHINGTON — The Montana Supreme Court has put itself on a collision course with the U.S. Supreme Court by upholding a century-old state law that bans corporate spending in state and local political campaigns.

The law, which was passed by Montana voters in 1912 to combat Gilded Age corporate control over much of Montana’s government, states that a “corporation may not make … an expenditure in connection with a candidate or a political party that supports or opposes a candidate or a political party.” In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court, in its landmark Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, struck down a similar federal statute, holding that independent electoral spending by corporations “do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption” that such laws were enacted to combat.

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