Montana Attorney General Tim Fox’s office filed a motion for an immediate partial stay with U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals after a ruling by U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell struck down the state’s campaign contribution limits. The brief was filed late Thursday afternoon, and the attorney general’s office which represents Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl, argued that unless the Ninth Circuit grants the immediate request, suspending contribution limits “will cause confusion and undermine the integrity of Montana’s electoral process.” “Military and absentee voting has begun … and the primary election is less than 20 days away,” the brief said. “… there can be no doubt that unlimited donations from political parties would create mass chaos in Montana’s election.”
Motl said Wednesday, after Lovell’s ruling, that his office would not challenge the reinstated contribution limits by individuals or political committees in order to not create the same confusion as in 2012.
However, the brief argues that Lovell’s ruling now creates an environment where individuals and political committees have restrictions, but political parties have none. “This loophole must be closed,” the attorney general argued.
By striking down I-118, Montana reverts back to the law it had before the initiative’s passage. That means there are still limits for individuals and political committees, but no rules for political parties.