22 States Back Montana's Citizens United Challenge

State wants to keep power to limit political spending

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted May 22, 2012 4:56 AM CDT | Updated May 22, 2012 7:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – Montana's attorney general is fighting to preserve his state's ability to curb corporate political spending, and almost half of America's states are backing him. Some 22 states and the District of Columbia have filed a brief urging the Supreme Court not to use its Citizens United decision to strike down Montana's law limiting corporate money in politics, reports the Guardian. Montana's century-old Corrupt Practices Act, which was introduced to curb the power of copper barons, has been upheld by the state's highest court, putting it in conflict with Citizens United.

The states, led by New York, argue that laws like Montana's are needed to prevent corruption at the state level. They say the court should reconsider some of its findings in the Citizens United case, arguing that the court was wrong when it claimed that unlimited independent political spending does not "give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption," AP reports. Experts say that while it is highly unlikely that the court will reconsider Citizens United, it may clarify the ruling to allow Montana's law to stand—or simply issue a ruling reversing Montana's decision to uphold its law.

Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock says states need to be able to block certain political spending.   (AP Photo/Matthew Brown, File)
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There is a growing bipartisan consensus that Citizens United needs to be overturned, and Montana is leading the way. - Peter Schurman, spokesman for the group Free Speech for People

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