News Release

Supreme Court: Money in Politics Doesn’t Matter; Montanans Disagree

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has effectively struck down Montana’s 100-year-old law that banned direct corporate political campaign spending in state and local elections. The court reversed a Montana Supreme Court ruling. See: Supreme Court Upholds Citizens United; Tightens Corporate Stranglehold on Campaign Finance.

JEFF MILCHEN, jeff.milchen at gmail.com
Milchen is the co-founder of the Montana-based American Independent Business Alliance, which was party to briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United v FEC and ATP v Bullock. Milchen said today: “The Supreme Court claims that ‘independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.’ Montanans know differently from our own experience. Our state Supreme Court upheld the Corrupt Practices Act because Montana presented incontrovertible evidence of such corruption. For the Court majority to summarily dismiss a ruling based on factual record that disproves their theories is profoundly disturbing, if not surprising.”

AMIBA represents the interests of independent businesses which, Milchen said, “are directly harmed when large corporations are permitted to translate their wealth into political power that yields tax loopholes, subsidies and other preferential treatment.”

He added: “While the Roberts Court ruling is atrocious, I hope it’s done us the favor of making clear to even the most timid reformers that we now have only one course of action to protect democracy from corporate corruption: amending the U.S. Constitution to make clear Bill of Rights protections are for human beings, not corporations. I hope this will galvanize support for an Amendment, through coalitions like Move to Amend and Free Speech for People, that will prevent corporations from trumping citizens’ right to self-governance.” Milchen wrote about the case for the San Francisco Chronicle when the Montana Supreme Court upheld the Corrupt Practices Act in December.

See also: Granting Corporations Bill of Rights Protections Is Not “Pro-Business”

JOHN BONIFAZ, jbonifaz at freespeechforpeople.org
Executive director of Free Speech for People, Bonifaz said today: “In the face of overwhelming evidence that the basic premise of the Citizens United ruling was wrong, five justices of the United States Supreme Court today said they do not care. They do not care about the facts. They do not care that two years of experience under the Citizens United ruling have demonstrated that independent expenditures from corporations and mega-wealthy individuals threaten the integrity of our elections. They do not care about the devastating impact of their ruling on our democracy.

“These five justices had a chance to consider those facts by accepting for review on the merits the case of American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock, which addressed Montana’s century-old law barring corporate money in elections. Instead, these five justices have taken the extraordinary step of issuing summary reversal of a state supreme court ruling. This is a radical action by five justices, equal to their radical action two and half years ago in issuing the Citizens United ruling.

“It is time to overrule the U.S. Supreme Court. We the people have the power to do this under Article V of the U.S. Constitution: the constitutional amendment power. And, we have done this before in our nation’s history. Seven of our 27 amendments to the Constitution have overturned egregious Supreme Court rulings. To preserve our Republic, we can and we must do it again.”