American Tradition Partnership Wins First Amendment Case Striking Down Montana Contribution Limits Becomes 13th state to allow unlimited contributions to candidates
HELENA, Mont., Oct. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- American Tradition Partnership won another victory for free speech Wednesday when U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell ruled in favor of the group and other plaintiffs, tossing out Montana's political contribution limits as unconstitutionally low.
There are now no limits on contributions to state political candidates by individuals, party committees and PACs.
"The political establishment can no longer tell citizens to shut up because they've reached their speech limit," said ATP Montana Director Doug Lair. "The old contributions limits were so low candidates had no choice but to grovel before political insiders and well-organized interest groups to get elected. Those days are now over."
Judge Lovell in his order referred to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Randall v. Sorrell, which struck down Vermont's campaign contribution limits as being too low to allow candidates to raise the funds necessary to run competitive campaigns. Low contribution limits have been cited by many experts as leading to high incumbent re-election rates – in the nearly 40 years since Congress first adopted contribution limits, the success rate for challengers to Congressional incumbents has been cut in half.
Montana now joins twelve other states that allow unlimited contributions to candidates: Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.
The suit by ATP overturned:
Montana's individual contribution limit to candidates of $630 to the gubernatorial ticket, $310 to candidates for statewide office and $160 for candidates to other office
Limits on contributions to candidates by political party committees of $22,600 to the gubernatorial ticket, $8,150 to candidates for statewide office, $3,260 to candidates for Public Service Commission, $1,300 to candidates for State Senate and $800 to candidates for other offices.
Limits on contributions to candidates by political action committees of $630 to the gubernatorial ticket, $310 to candidates for statewide office and $160 for candidates to other office.
The case was Lair v. Murray, CV 12-12-H-CCL. Judge Lovell's order is attached as a PDF:
http://www.ereleases.com/pic/district court order, Lair v Bullock.pdf.
Contact: Doug Lair, 406-219-7287, firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOURCE American Tradition Partnership