U.S. District court hands ATP latest legal victory, overturning vote record disclosure law
In American Tradition Partnership’s latest victory over Montana’s anti-speech campaign finances laws, in a Friday ruling U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell blocked Montana state laws requiring authors of political election materials disclose another candidate’s voting record. Under the law, any vote cited by a challenger to an elected official must also cite other votes around the same time, without defining what that may be. Intended to protect incumbents, it placed any challenger under threat of prosecution.
“There’s a reason American Tradition Partnership continues to win in court, and why Attorney General Bullock loses time and time again. The Constitution is on our side,” said American Tradition Partnership Executive Director Donald Ferguson. “The political establishment in Helena has written these laws to suppress criticism of elected officials, which flies in the face of our founding principles.”
“Why are Brian Schweitzer and Steve Bullock doing everything they can to pass laws restricting what you can say about elected officials? Could it have something to do with the endless tales of corruption and unethical behavior pouring out of their administration, which has seen one Commissioner of Political Practices forced to resign under investigation and another reprimanded by a federal court for the ‘petty bureaucratic harassment’ of conservatives?,” said Ferguson.
“There’s a reason every objective court sides with American Tradition Partnership. The law is on our side. We are fighting the corrupt political establishment strangling Montana. If Brian Schweitzer and Steve Bullock wants to get corruption out of Helena, they can start by cleaning up their own administration.”
The ruling was made in a suit brought against Attorney General Steve Bullock by American Tradition Partnership, a grassroots-based organization with wide membership across Montana. It was heard by Judge Lovell of the United States District Court for the District of Montana in Helena.
Last week the U.S. Supreme Court blocked enforcement of Montana laws prohibiting corporations from engaging in independent expenditures. ATP had won a victory on that suit in state court, only to see it overturned by the Montana State Supreme Court in a ruling that admittedly openly defied the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. ATP appealed the state Supreme Court ruling to the Supreme Court and won an injunction.