HELENA — An appeals court has upheld a Montana law requiring nonprofit groups to register with the state as political committees if they run ads that refer to a candidate or ballot issue.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that Montana’s campaign disclosure requirements are similar to those previously upheld in Washington state and in Hawaii.
The National Association of Gun Rights sued to strike down Montana’s law. The group registered as a nonprofit education organization said it wants to send mailers to voters about public officials who support the Second Amendment.
The group argues it shouldn’t have to register because it isn’t expressly advocating for any candidate’s election.
The judges say that it’s in the state’s interests to apply disclosure requirements to such indirect communications that are meant to influence voters.