Montana is the latest state to overhaul its campaign-finance rules in an attempt to cast out dark money after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed corporations to spend unlimited amounts in elections. The architect of the changes in Montana said the new rules will create a high level of transparency in the state with a history of election corruption, and will be effective because of Montana’s relatively small population of 1 million people. “You can put a lightbulb in a big cave and not see very far,” Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl said. “In Montana, you’re going to see a lot of corners.”
The changes — expected to be adopted by next week — will require more organizations to disclose their donors and spending, add restrictions to coordination between candidates and outside organizations, and require candidates to file same-day electronic disclosures of their contributions.
Some people aren’t convinced the reforms will live up to the promises. Paul Ryan, deputy executive director of the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center in Washington, D.C., called Montana’s efforts a squandered opportunity.
“I don’t believe Montana’s new disclosure law will in any way solve the dark money problem,” Ryan said Wednesday.