Tue June 26, 2012
Montana campaign finance ruling could affect Wisconsin elections
The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down an implicit challenge to the Citizens United case that allows for unlimited corporate contributions to election campaigns. The director of a Wisconsin campaign finance watchdog group says the ruling reinforces the role of corporate spending in elections.
The court ruled a Montana law banning corporate contributions to candidates cannot be enforced because violates the ruling in Citizens United v. FEC ruling the court handed down two years ago. Montana's governor and attorney general defended Montana's law, passed in 1912, and called the high court's decision a political one that will promote corruption in election financing.
Jay Heck of the Wisconsin Chapter of Common cause agrees. He calls Citizens United and this most recent defense of it “activist rulings” from a court that claims to oppose judicial activism. “This is a decision that is not based on any precedent. It's really based more on the ideological disposition of the conservative members of the Supreme Court. It's going to take something more than trying to get around it. I think it's going to require the overturning of Citizens United.”
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker dismissed Monday's Montana ruling as applying mainly to federal elections. But he held out hope that the state would limit election spending in any future recall elections, “I think most people would like to not have recalls like we've had in the past, and they certainly wouldn't like to have the level of spendin. I think both of those things can be addressed.”
Gov. Walker's own spending on the recall totaled more than $12 million, more than twice what his Democratic rival, Tom Barrett, spent.