State to Appeal Decision to Strike Election Laws

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – State attorneys have filed notice of plans to appeal a judge’s decision to strike down Montana campaign finance laws that he ruled unconstitutionally restrict free speech.

Attorneys filed notice Wednesday with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals nearly a month after U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell issued a permanent injunction barring the state from enforcing the laws.

The judge determined that laws requiring attack ads to disclose the targeted candidates’ voting record and ban knowingly false statements in such ads are unconstitutionally vague. Lovell also ruled that Montana cannot ban corporations from making contributions to political committees that make independent expenditures.

The case was brought by American Tradition Partnership, which has a related case before the U.S. Supreme Court that aims to loosen restrictions on corporate spending in elections.