People For the American Way

A Critical Victory in Montana

Montana’s Democratic Attorney General Steve Bullock has been declared victor in his race to become that state’s governor.

Bullock has been making quite a name for himself in the past year as he crusades to prevent the destruction of his state’s legal structure to prevent corporate domination of elections. He defended his state’s ban on corporate independent expenditures in American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Bullock, the case summarily reversed in a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in June. He got an emergency stay from the Ninth Circuit when, just a couple of weeks before Election Day, a federal district court ordered Montana not to enforce its caps on campaign contributions.

While Bullock was trying to defend Montana law, his Republican opponent Rick Hill was doing exactly the opposite. During the few days before the Ninth Circuit granted the emergency hold, Hill accepted a half-million dollar donation from the Montana Republican Party. Even after the Ninth Circuit restored the caps until an appeal of the lower court case could be heard, Hill insisted the contribution was legal and set out to spend it. Bullock went to a state court and got an injunction ordering Hill not to spend those funds.

Those are two very different approaches to money in politics. Fortunately, the voters of Montana have endorsed Bullock’s approach. That is no surprise, considering they also voted yesterday to support a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United.


campaign finance, campaign finance reform, Citizens United v. FEC, Election 2012, Rick Hill, Steve Bullock