montana supreme court

Steve Bullock under state investigation for illegal corporate fundraising

Posted on October 19, 2012 by Donald Ferguson

From the Montana Statesman:

Steve Bullock (Attorney General), and the Montana Department of Justice don’t want you to know what they are lobbying for – and have apparently been running a disinformation campaign about what they support and don’t support.

This has been revealed in a formal complaint submitted to the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices.

The official complaint can be read here: Reid v Dep’t of Justice and Bullock

The Commissioner’s website states -  “Issue: On September 5, 2012 Catherine Reid filed a complaint against The Department of Justice and Attorney General Steve Bullock alleging violations of Lobbying Laws…
Status: Investigation Pending“

But there are many more campaign finance complaints against Attorney General Steve Bullock – just click on any of the state investigations below:

Issue: On September 24, 2012 Richard Little filed a complaint against Steve Bullock alleging violations of campaign finance and practices laws.
Status: Investigation Pending
Issue: On September 24, 2012 Don Hart filed a complaint against Steve Bullock alleging violations of campaign finance and practices laws.
Status: Investigation Pending
Issue: On September 10, 2012 Klaas Tuininga filed a complaint against Steve Bullock alleging violations of campaign finance and practices laws.
Status: Investigation Pending
Issue: On September 7, 2012 Glen Swope filed a complaint against Steve Bullock alleging violations of campaign finance and practices laws.
Status: Investigation Pending
Issue: On September 7, 2012 Philip Olson filed a complaint against Steve Bullock alleging violations of campaign finance and practices laws.
Status: Investigation Pending

National Journal: Supreme Court will stand by American Tradition Partnership

Posted on June 8, 2012 by Donald Ferguson

National Journal reports this morning on liberal claims that American Tradition Partnership’s challenge to Montana’s unconstitutional anti-speech laws offers the U.S. Supreme Court an opportunity to overturn its Citizens United v. FEC ruling.

The Court simply won’t, and will in all likelihood strike down Montana’s clearly unconstitutional laws without wasting time with a hearing.

National Journal reports ATP’s challenge will, in fact, strengthen, free speech laws and lead to uninfringed political speech in Montana.

National Journal members can read the full article here.

The case, American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Bullock, centers on a century-old Montana law that prohibits corporations from spending money on political campaigns. The U.S. Supreme Court appeared to have rendered the state law unconstitutional in 2010 in its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that allowed unlimited corporate and union spending on elections; but the Montana Supreme Court unexpectedly upheld the ban last year.

The state judges contended that Citizens United does not apply to Montana’s anti-corruption measure–arguing, in effect, that the state should be able to determine how to regulate campaigns within its borders. Supporters of the state court’s decision, according to Rick Hasen, a campaign finance expert at the University of California (Irvine) School of Law, have framed it as a defense of federalism, a tactic calibrated to appeal to the Supreme Court’s majority conservative bloc. …

Legal experts of all ideological stripes expect the Supreme Court to strike down the Montana law, maybe as early as this month, even though more than 20 states have filed briefs in support of Montana’s position, contending that Citizens United in its short life has already had an observable, corrupting influence on national politics.

Ruling otherwise wouldn’t necessarily require the Court to reconsider Citizens United wholesale; it could instead carve out some breathing room for states to regulate and still maintain the framework that allows unlimited contributions to outside political groups, corporations, and unions. But because the Court’s composition has not changed since the decision came down, the justices are much more likely to choose the path of least resistance at their June 14 conference: They could merely vote to strike down the Montana law without a hearing.

ATP wins yet another case against Montana politicians

Posted on May 16, 2012 by Donald Ferguson

American Tradition Partnership (ATP), a nonprofit 501(c)4 grassroots lobbying organization, won a critical victory for First Amendment freedoms today in Montana. U.S. District Court Judge Charles Lovell today ruled in favor of ATP in a motion for summary judgment on several claims, finding that the state could not prohibit corporate contributions to groups engaging in independent political speech, require ATP to include certain disclaimers on their communications, or prohibit political speech about candidate voting records the state judged ‘false.’

“This is a victory for the free speech rights of all Americans, and a loss for Montana politicians trying to squelch the voices of grassroots citizens challenging their power,” said Donald Ferguson, Executive Director of ATP. “The court today recognized that burdening ATP and other citizen groups with unnecessary, intrusive, and unwarranted regulations on speech is an affront to the First Amendment.”

ATP filed the lawsuit to prevent the State of Montana from enforcing unconstitutional restrictions on its speech. The judge ruled that ATP’s challenge to Montana’s excessively low contribution limits ($160 to a candidate for state legislature, $630 to a candidate for Governor) will proceed to trial, and ruled in the State’s favor that the ban on direct contributions from corporations to candidates was constitutional.

The case is Lair et al v. Murray et al, case number 6:12-cv-00012-CCL.

ATP asks U.S. Supreme Court to review Montana rejection of Citizens United

Posted on March 27, 2012 by Donald Ferguson
Today three corporations asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Montana Supreme Court’s holding that corporations in Montana may be banned from making independent political expenditures by expressly advocate the election or defeat of state candidates. In the 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the First Amendment protects such core political speech even if made by corporations in federal elections and could not be banned. But the Montana Supreme Court upheld a ban on corporate independent expenditures for such speech, based on Montana’s uniqueness, especially its history of corruption.
The U.S. Supreme Court has already stayed the Montana Supreme Court’s decision, meaning that corporations can currently speak despite the state court’s holding. The stay is in effect while the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether to accept the case for review, and, if it is accepted, then until the case is decided.
In their petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, the corporations explained that the Montana decision was in conflict with both the Court’s holding that corporations could not be banned from doing core political speech and the Court’s reasoning that the independence of such speech eliminated any risk of corrupting candidates. The petition stressed the importance of upholding respect for the rule of law, the Supreme Court’s decisions, and the Supreme Court itself. It noted the flood of cases that would arise from other states seeking similar as-applied exceptions if Montana’s decision stands. And it noted the profound constitutional problems that would arise if Montana’s arguments were allowed to prevail.  For example, if Montana’s argument that it  is unique because it is sparsely populated were to prevail, this would mean that would-be speakers in densely populated urban areas have greater speech protection than those in suburban or rural areas.
James Bopp, Jr., lead counsel for the corporations, states: “If Montana can ban core political speech because of Montana’s unique characteristics, free speech will be seriously harmed. Speakers will be silenced because of corruption by others over a century ago or because Montana candidates have traditionally spent little money on their campaigns. This puts speakers at the mercy of others and of past actions over which they have no control. The First Amendment’s protections cannot be so conditioned.”
The case in the U.S. Supreme Court is captioned American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Bullock. In the Montana Supreme Court, it was captioned Western Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Attorney General. The petition is available at the James Madison Center website at http://www.jamesmadisoncenter.org/cases/files/2012/02/Cert-Petition-final.pdf.

 

Environmentalists hurl death threats at ATP. We don’t back down.

Posted on March 23, 2012 by Donald Ferguson

“I really hope somebody kills you. I really mean that.  That would make me very, very happy.”

That message, left on my personal cell phone, is just one of the many I get every day from radical environmentalists.

It comes as no surprise to me.  Environmentalists speak the language of violence.

And they have reason to target me with their threats.

    We are going to the Supreme Court to affirm the rights of Americans to speak out without fear of government harassment.

You see, in the state of Montana it is against the law for employers to spend their company money to speak out about issues affecting their business.

But it’s perfectly legal for radical liberal groups to do the same.

Enforced by a bully liberal governor and a liberal attorney general, both of whom preside over a corrupt administration, we have seen everyday citizens hauled into court for questioning the liberal establishment.

It’s gotten so bad a federal court lashed out at the liberal administration, accusing them of “petty bureaucratic harassment” of conservatives.

But they made a mistake.

They came after American Tradition Partnership when we exposed the truth about them.

And we fight back.

So we took them to court.

We won.

The court ruled they could no longer attack our First Amendment rights.

But they refused to accept the court’s ruling.

They even attacked the U.S. Supreme Court!

So now, that’s where we’re going.

I am taking our case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Two Supreme Court justices have already sided with me, issuing an injunction telling the governor and attorney general to stop their illicit attacks on citizens.

But our legal fight is expensive, and we are not assured victory.

If we lose crooked politicians could shut down American Tradition Partnership and silence people who speak out against radical environmentalism.

But if we win we affirm YOUR right to speak out against corrupt politicians and their Gang Green henchmen, without fear of government harassment.

Being unable to use government resources to harass people who speak the truth would be a serious blow to Gang Green.

So now they are coming after me with death threats.

Unfortunately for them I don’t back down.  Ever.

Even in the face of death threat.

But I do need you to stand with me.

Go here to chip in $500, $250, $100, $50, $10 or more to support American Tradition Partnership in this fight.

Whatever you can afford will be great appreciated.

Your gift will go to support American Tradition Partnership in this fight to affirm your First Amendment rights.

This fight is hard. And expensive.

But we must wage it.

    I refuse to stand by while two crooked politicians haul citizens into court simply for telling the truth about a corrupt regime.

And I will not let them silence American Tradition Partnership.

Even when their henchmen leave death threats on my cell phone.

So may I please ask you to go here and chip in $10 or more to help me win this Supreme Court fight against crooked Gang Green allies and their violence-spewing henchmen?

I’m fighting for citizens who have already been hauled into court, and for people-powered citizen groups like American Tradition Partnership who have also been targeted with bogus government harassment and death threats.

And most importantly, I’m fighting for you.  If victorious in their fight to silence American Tradition Partnership they will go after citizens like you next.

This fight, which is now in the Supreme Court, is expensive and tough.

And now they’re hurling death threats. So please stand with me.

Go here to chip in $500, $250, $100, $50, $10 or more to support American Tradition Partnership in this fight.

Sincerely,

Donald Ferguson
Executive Director
American Tradition Partnership

P.S.  Death threats on my personal cell phone.  That’s what they’ve stooped to.

Why? We have a case going before the U.S. Supreme Court to shatter Gang Greens’ illicit political monopoly.

Please let me know you stand with me in the face of death threats and a Supreme Court fight to protect your First Amendment rights.

Go here to chip in $500, $250, $100, $50, $10 or more to support American Tradition Partnership in this fight.

Law professors: Mont. Supreme Court ruling would be overturned by SCOTUS

Posted on January 3, 2012 by Donald Ferguson

“In today’s Western Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Attorney General, the Montana Supreme Court upheld a ban on corporate expenditures to speak in support of or opposition to political candidates — pretty much the same sort of ban that the United States Supreme Court struck down in Citizens United v. FEC. The majority argues that Citizens United is distinguishable, because of Montana’s “unique” interests stemming from its history, its size, and its political culture,” “The Volkoh Conspiracy,” a blog run and written by law professors writes Friday.

The professors quote from the majority ruling, as well as the dissent:

“Having considered the matter, I believe the Montana Attorney General has identified some very compelling reasons for limiting corporate expenditures in Montana’s political process. The problem, however, is that regardless of how persuasive I may think the Attorney General’s justifications are, the Supreme Court has already rebuffed each and every one of them. Accordingly, as much as I would like to rule in favor of the State, I cannot in good faith do so…. I cannot agree that [the majority’s] “Montana is unique” rationale is consistent with Citizens United….

[W]hat has happened here is essentially this: The Supreme Court in Citizens United … rejected several asserted governmental interests; and this Court has now come along, retrieved those interests from the garbage can, dusted them off, slapped a “Made in Montana” sticker on them, and held them up as grounds for sustaining a patently unconstitutional state statute….”

“My sense is that the disagreement with Citizens United is so striking that it is likely that the Supreme Court will agree to hear the case, and will reverse the Montana Supreme Court’s decision,” they conclude.

« Older Entries