Tester seeks remedies for Citizens United ruling

By JORDAN SPARR/Montana State News

Montana Sen. Jon Tester has proposed changes in the law to tackle anonymous political donations and how the law views corporations as people following to the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court case.

According to a press release from the office of Jon Tester, two proposed bills are the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act and the Sunlight for Unaccountable Non-profits Act. Alongside these two acts is also a proposed Constitutional Amendment pushing to disallow the practice of regarding corporations as people within lawmaking and campaign financing.

These legislative actions presented by Tester are in direct response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision of 2010. According to the official record of the case, the ruling allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money in helping or hurting political candidates.

In 2012, as stated in public record, the Corporate Contributions Amendment, or I-166, was approved in the state of Montana. The amendment stops corporations from financially influencing state and federal political campaigns. The amendment was eventually reversed by the United States Supreme Court later that year.

In an official press release, Tester said, “Montana has spoken loud and clear: our campaign finance system is broken.” He went on to say, “That’s why I am hoping to introduce a little bit of Montana common sense to our election system in order to increase transparency, accountability, and restore rights to the people, not corporations.”

In a letter Tester wrote to President Trump, he said, “Montanans know the best government is an accountable and transparent one.” The subsequent press release revealed that Tester asked Trump to aid him in passing these three pieces of legislation to, “…clean up our broken campaign system and strengthen ethics laws regarding lobbyists.”

For now, Montana legislators must wait to see if their bills pass, and hope that the legislation against corporate financial interests within campaign funding does not get overturned by the United States Supreme Court as I-166 did in 2012.

– edited by Cullan Staack

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