RI Sen. Whitehouse, McCain ask U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Montana campaign finance restrictions

John E. Mulligan
The Providence Journal
5/18/2012

Senators Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, and John McCain, R-AZ, have told the U.S. Supreme Court that they support state-level campaign finance restrictions, upheld last year by Montana’s highest court, that run counter to a controversial 2010 case that has lifted nationwide limits on election spending by corporations, unions and other groups.

In a legal brief filed Friday, the senators urge the U.S. Supreme Court to honor last year’s ruling by the Montana Supreme Court, upholding that state’s election finance limitations, which are directly at odds with a landmark decision by the nation’s highest court, known as Citizens United.

Besides lifting longstanding bans on advertisements and other forms of election spending by outside groups, the 2010 Citizens United ruling has been interpreted as allowing organizations to put money into campaigns without saying who contributed the money.

A conservative group based in Virginia, American Tradition Partnership, has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the state court decision to uphold Montana’s campaign finance restrictions. Montana’s attorney general, Steve Bullock, has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to let the state court’s ruling stand. The Supreme Court has not said whether it will hear the case.

McCain, a leading Republican proponent of campaign spending regulations, and Whitehouse, expressed their agreement with Bullock’s position in a friend-of-the-court brief.

The case is American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Bullock.

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