The Supreme Court is expected to respond in June to a Montana Supreme Court decision upholding the state’s Corrupt Practices Act, which bans corporations from making political expenditures from their general treasuries. American Tradition Partnership, a nonprofit group, and co-petitioners sued for a declaration that the act violates their freedom of speech. They contend the Citizens United decision so clearly invalidates the Montana law that the justices should reverse the state ruling without oral argument. Montana, however, makes a sound and compelling argument that Citizens United, which struck down a federal ban on independent spending in political campaigns by corporations and unions, does not bar it from fighting political corruption with a carefully tailored campaign law. The Supreme Court should quickly uphold the state ruling, or hear oral argument before making a decision.
The Montana case, while about state law, deals with the central fallacy of Citizens United — that “independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.” The justices seemed to believe there would be no consequences for democracy if unlimited money flooded campaigns.
Montana’s history with corporate influence on elections has shown that to be wrong. Now, after two years with Citizens United governing politics, officials, scholars and advocates are reporting back to the court what they’ve found. Corruption or the appearance of corruption is rampant. Disclosure, which the court counted on as a check against corruption, is scarce. Independent spending is rarely independent.
Full Article: Can State Laws Cohabit With Citizens United? – NYTimes.com.