SEE THE GAZETTE ARTICLE BELOW AS EDITED BY SGCCI WITH TRUTH IN REPORTING………..(SGCCI comments in red)
HELENA — A federal judge Friday upheld Montana’s monetary limits on campaign donations, for now — but left the door open for possibly overturning them in the future. True-now the public will get a chance to see how Montana has been held hostage by unions and the political establishment. American Tradition Partnership is fighting for average citizen and small business person who is fed up with politics as usual at taxpayer expense. Remember, small business and sole proprietorships form the backbone of our state and national economy and jobs base. These are the engines that create wealth. Government and their unions consume wealth.
U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell of Helena also upheld Montana’s ban on direct corporate contributions to campaigns, rejecting a request by several businesses and conservative lobbies to block it during the 2012 election. True-we didn’t expect to win on this one but since unions can forcibly extract dues from employees and then turn around and spend them on any number of groups that attack the hand that feeds them, we thought it worth a try.
The direct corporate contributions are different than corporate “independent expenditures,” which usually buy ads to attack or support a candidate or cause. The expenditures had been banned in Montana but now are allowed, because of a U.S. Supreme Court order last week. WOW-a victory for Freedom of Speech! Now, corporations-most of which are mom and pop in size, can express their views-just like the unions and taxpayer fed organizations that have figured out how to legislate access to the working stiff’s pocket book.
Lovell also indicated he would strike down two Montana “clean-campaign” laws, saying their attempt to regulate or restrict political criticism of a candidate appears to be unconstitutionally vague. Lovell granted a request to block the laws’ enforcement until he can issue a full ruling. A big win for groups like SGCCI (see sweetgrassroots.org) that had the audacity to take one of their elected officials to task over his voting record and were in turn threatened by this representative with reprisal from the Commissioner of Political Practices. We ask: If you can’t publicly take an elected official to task for their voting record, why bother to have representative government? Czars will be next………..uhhh…….never mind…….they are already here.
Lovell’s decision Friday was on the latest of three lawsuits filed by American Tradition Partnership and its allies in the past year and a half, attempting to overturn a series of Montana campaign finance laws and regulations. True-could it be because our constitutional rights are being trampled on? Ask yourself why the Montana Supreme Court has been overturned by the US Supreme Court THREE TIMES in the past several months. If it were baseball the Montana Supremes would be “out”.
ATP, formerly known as Western Tradition Partnership, is a Washington, D.C.-based conservative lobbying and political group that bills itself as “a no-compromise grassroots organization dedicated to fighting the radical environmentalist agenda.” TRUE and proud of it. Actually, ATP’s founder is based in Montana and ATP enjoys broad support for their efforts to defend grass-roots conservatives, promote responsible development of our vast state resources and challenge the CAVE people (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) aka radical environmentalists that use the courts to block nearly all economic development and raise the prices of EVERYTHING for the average working person. Enough is enough.
Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock said Friday the lawsuits are a “concerted effort by out-of-state corporations to dismantle our election laws and undermine the democratic process in Montana.” FALSE- AG Bullock is 0-3 after trying to defend Montana’s unconstitutional laws so he is smarting a little. Montana is fortunate to have a few brave citizens, most living in Montana stand up for ALL Montanan’s constitutional rights and peel back the illegal layers of restrictive laws that the entrenched politicians and unions have quietly blanketed us with. Roughly 1,800 bills are introduced every two years and you can rest assured most of them cost the taxpayers money and freedom!
He said he’s pleased that Lovell preserved Montana’s campaign contribution limits and prohibition on direct corporate contributions, and that he’ll continue to fight to preserve the clean-campaign laws. True-AG Bullock would hate to see average private sector, non-union working Montanan’s have any clout in the state. He want’s the Trial Lawyers Association to hold sway over us forever.
“I look forward to showing at trial how Montana’s laws governing truthful campaigning are needed and fulfill their purpose,” he said. “Montanans deserve accuracy — not distortions — from their candidates for public office.” Uhemm-Do you really believe you can legislate “truthful campaigning”? What Montanan’s really deserve is to be treated like adults and allow them to do their own homework and decide for themselves whether or not a candidate is telling the truth. Montanan’s and citizens around the country trusted the media to perform this critical task and see where that has led us-to the brink of disaster for sure. “Freedom isn’t free” and citizenship in a republic requires our participation.
Jim Brown, a Helena attorney who represents ATP and other businesses and groups trying to overturn the laws, said Friday his clients are pleased with aspects of the ruling as well, such as the blocking of enforcement of the clean-campaign language. True-thank you Jim Brown and to the firm of Doney, Crowley, Payne and Bloomquist P.C. for your efforts on the behalf of freedom.
“We believe that Judge Lovell has vindicated free speech and association in Montana,” Brown said. “This (ruling) will allow people and corporations in Montana to speak (on campaigns) … without fear of prosecution in the 2012 election.” True-Let’s all get involved in our future and the future of our children before it’s too late.
Brown also said while Lovell upheld Montana’s monetary limits on campaign donations to candidates, the judge indicated his opinion could change if further evidence shows the limits restrict free speech or political association. True- and we are confident we will demonstrate these limits are restrictive.
The next step in the case will be written arguments or a trial before Lovell on whether the limits, clean-campaign law restrictions and ban on corporate contributions should be permanently retained or overturned. We relish the chance to take this fight to the court and to the public.
Lovell declined to block Montana’s contribution limits, which place a ceiling on how much an individual or political-action committee can give to a state candidate. The per-election ceiling is $630 for a gubernatorial candidate, $310 for other statewide offices and $160 for other public offices. True-but low by national standards. These limits don’t apply to George Soros and his web of evil in the state. Soros has donated a large amount of money to his Montana affiliates in the past several years (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6706).
Montana also limits the total amount of PAC contributions to legislative candidates and limits what political parties can give to candidates. True
Lovell said past court decisions have said such limits are allowed if they allow candidates “to amass sufficient resources to wage an effective campaign.” True
However, Lovell said if ATP and its co-plaintiffs can “marshal evidence showing that the contribution limits, while formerly adequate, no longer allow candidates ‘to amass the resources necessary for effective campaign advocacy,'” he might change his mind. We intend to make a good case for higher limits.
On the clean-campaign language, Lovell blocked enforcement of state laws that require listing of certain votes on political material attacking one candidate, and that prohibit misrepresentation of a candidate’s voting record. A victory for SGCCI-citizens no longer need to fear threat of retribution from an elected official for talking about an elected official’s voting record.
He said the language is “unconstitutionally vague (and) overbroad,” making it impossible for anyone to be sure what might constitute a violation. True-thank you Judge Lovell and we look forward to defending the constitutional rights of ALL Montanans.
RED COMMENTS by SGCCI