Montana’s attorney general is due to file a brief Friday in the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to uphold the state’s Corrupt Practices Act. This 1906 law prohibits corporations from making expenditures on behalf of candidates in Montana elections. The Supreme Court’s response could have repercussions far beyond Montana — the case may well determine how much states can regulate money in politics after Citizens United. The state high court cited Montana’s long history of corruption, when corporations often spent unlimited sums to steal elections, as the reason to narrow Citizens United and uphold the law. The Supreme Court should heed the Montana attorney general’s argument. More important, this case could offer the high court a viable means to revisit its Citizens United decision. This 2010 ruling, extended by lower federal courts, has spawned the super PACs now threatening to bring Wild West corruption to federal elections.
Months away from November, numerous corporations have each donated more than $1 million to super PACs dedicated to electing specific candidates. They’re not doing it for altruistic reasons. Super PACs that receive — and spend — unlimited donations from parties seeking specific government actions threaten to bring about a new Gilded Age.
Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, for example, pledged to spend up to $100 million to determine who controls federal agencies now pursuing three investigations against his company. Harold Simmons, who stands to reap extraordinary profits if nuclear waste rules are relaxed, has given super PACs $16 million — including at least $700,000 to the super PAC functioning as an arm of Mitt Romney’s campaign. Those now challenging the Montana law say it cannot be reconciled with Citizens United. They’ve asked the court to take the extraordinary step of throwing out the Montana law without even allowing briefing and oral argument.
Full Article: Can Montana brief end Citizens United? – POLITICO.com.