How do you like political ads now that lying and corruption are legal?
In 2012, conservatives dismantled Montana's ban on lying in political ads. According to havredailynews.com, March 24, "Conservative groups asked the judge on Friday to permanently strike the false statement and disclosure laws, and rule constitutional a ban on corporate general fund contributions to independent expenditure committees."
Conservatives, led by American Tradition Partnership, Montana Right to Life, and Beaverhead and Lake Republican Central committees, attacked Montana's Corrupt Practices Act — a law 75 percent of Montana voters approved in 1912 to stop copper kings from buying political offices.
In Citizens United versus the Federal Elections Commission, conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court decided that money is free speech and corporations can spend unlimited money influencing elections.
In American Tradition Partnership versus Bullock, Montana's Supreme Court sided with the state of Montana brief; in part: "The $12 million annual budget of Citizens United, a relatively small player in national politics, is roughly double the total amount raised by every state executive, legislative and judicial candidate over a biennial election cycle in Montana." The state of Montana charges that American Tradition Partnership's undisputed purpose is to evade disclosure of funding sources (New York Times, May 26).
On June 25, the five conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices rejected Montana's 1912 law.
Twenty-two states have joined Attorney General Steve Bullock, who is also a candidate for governor, in the fight to keep Montana's 1912 Corrupt Practices Act.
In 2011, Montana's conservative Legislature attacked voting rights. Thankfully, Gov. Schweitzer vetoed it with his branding iron.
You can use it or lose it: Register friends and neighbors to vote. Vote absentee early, after Oct. 8 or at the polls Nov. 6. Reaffirm Montana's 1912 Corrupt Practices Act by voting for Initiative 166 — that corporations are not people.