Gavel Grab

New Effort Seeks Disclosure of Political ‘Dark Money’ in MT

In the Montana legislature this year, the state Senate passed a bill to bring greater disclosure of the hidden political money that flows through third-party political groups, but the measure languished in the state House. Now disclosure advocates will try another approach, through a ballot measure.

The Missoulian reported that proponents say the measure would require any entities that make expenditures to influence campaigns in the state to disclose that spending and their financial backers. The proponents are led by Republicans.

“We think the people of Montana need to have a voice (on this issue), and we’re confident that they would like to see this dark money reported … so they can follow the money,” said Sen. Jim Peterson, a Republican.

Shortly after the Supreme Court issued its Citizens United ruling  in 2010, Bert Brandenburg, executive director of Justice at Stake, emphasized the importance of campaign finance disclosure in judicial elections.

“States that elect judges should immediately enact strong, real-time reporting laws, so that special-interest spending is forced into the sunlight. Voters have a right to know who is paying to put judges on their courts,” he said. To learn more about the importance of robust disclosure laws, see the JAS issues page on the topic.

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