A second Montana judge has ruled there was corruption in the state’s 2010 Republican primary elections, with candidates pledging loyalty to a national anti-union group’s cause in exchange for thousands of dollars in illegal and unreported corporate campaign contributions. State officials plan to use the two judicial rulings as evidence in their defense of Montana’s limits on how much political donors may contribute to a candidate’s campaign. A federal lawsuit seeking to strike down those limits is pending after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that states must prove “quid pro quo corruption” — or the appearance of it — to justify capping contributions.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision raised the bar for states to prove they have a legitimate interest in limiting campaign donations. Before the Supreme Court ruling, states only had to show the caps meant to curb the influence of big money on politicians. Now, they must show that the limits prevent an actual exchange of money for political favors, the 9th Circuit ruled.
Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl said Wednesday that he believes two judges’ findings of corruption meets the new standard, but it will be up to a judge to decide.
“It is unprecedented and dramatic to have this degree of interference in elections that we saw in those 2010 primary elections,” Motl said. “If that isn’t quid pro quo corruption, I can’t imagine what is.”
Full Article: Montana to use corruption ruling to defend contribution caps.