by Max Brantley
Heartening news from Montana. The state Supreme Court there has upheld the state law that bans direct corporate spending in state and local elections. It's an affront to the odious Citizens United ruling by which the Republicans on the U.S. Supreme Court gave personhood — and essentially greater power — to corporations than it gives to U.S. citizens.
The corporate interests may take this back to the U.S. Supreme Court to see if the Republican justices will trump states' rights in this case. The practice is that these justices are federalists unless they don't like what the federated states are doing on their own time.
Don't hold your breath for Arkansas to follow Montana's example. We've long endorsed corporate contributions to political campaigns — including multiple contributions by the different corporate faces of the same individual using that to evade campaign finance limits.
Free Speech for People has a good rundown on the Montana victory. From Chief Justice Mike McGrath's opinion:
“…Issues of corporate influence, sparse population, dependence upon agriculture and extractive resource development, location as a transportation corridor, and low campaign costs make Montana especially vulnerable to continued efforts of corporate control to the detriment of democracy and the republican form of government. Clearly, Montana has unique and compelling interests to protect through preservation of this statute.”