The Montana Disclose Act (SB 289) is Montana’s last, best chance to pour sunlight on dark money before the next round of elections. Montanans deserve fair, transparent elections. Groups seeking to influence our elections can’t be allowed to hide in the shadows.
You can help shine a light on dark money, but we don't have much time.
The Montana Disclose Act is now being considered on the House floor. Montanans need to stand up for transparency in our elections by calling on our legislators to support SB 289.
The Montana Disclose Act is supported by:
In 2012, Montana voters stood up for clean, fair elections, approving I-166 with 75% voting FOR.
I-166 received bipartisan support from prominent Montana political figures. Governor Brian Schweitzer (D), Lt. Governor John Bohlinger (R), and former Secretary of State Verner Bertelsen (R) were the first to sign the petition to place I-166 on the ballot and came together to author the argument for I-166 in the Voter Information Pamphlet.
"We need to get the dirty, secret, corporate, foreign money out of our elections,” said Governor Brian Schweitzer. “Just as we did over 100 years ago, Montanans stood-up and took the first step, sending a clear message to the nation that corporations are not people and money does not equal speech. Now it's up to Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to get the dirty, secret, corporate, foreign money out of our elections for good."
Supporters of I-166 believe that the strong passage of the measure in Montana will have a ripple effect throughout the country, and will ultimately lead to the overturning of the Citizens United decision.
“Montana’s rebellion against corporate money in politics has sparked a fire that has already spread to many states and will soon be spreading to many more,” said Derek Cressman, Vice President of State Operations for Common Cause, a good government group and one of the lead supporters of the Stand with Montanans campaign in partnership with Free Speech for People. “We are already getting inquiries from leaders in other states who want to launch similar initiatives in 2014 to keep pushing back against the court’s big mistake in Citizens United,” he added.
"Montanans voting for I-166 in such strong numbers reflects how important it is to Americans everywhere that we overrule the U.S. Supreme Court and overturn Citizens United with a constitutional amendment, and the fact that it happened in Montana shows the geographic sweep and trans-partisan depth of this growing national movement," said Peter Schurman, Campaign Director of Free Speech For People, a national non-profit organization founded the day of the Citizens United decision that leads and catalyzes the national movement for a constitutional amendment to overturn it and to rein in unchecked corporate power.
With this historic vote Montana voters became one of the first two states where voters have gone on record calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizen United decision.
Every election cycle – even in small, local races – Montana voters are inundated with phone calls, ads and mailers that attack some candidates and support others. These groups have positive-sounding names, but who are they? Where are these groups based? Where do they get their money? Are they funded by Montanans or out-of-state interests? What are they trying to achieve?
No one knows because these groups are not required to disclose this information. As a result, our political process gets hijacked by wealthy, (sometimes out-of-state) groups with a lot of money.
The Montana Disclose Act is supported by:
GOAL: 1,000 signatures
You can help shine a light on dark money by supporting the Montana Disclose Act (SB 289) to:
- Update Montana’s campaign law to provide voters with more information on dark money political groups,
- Require virtually any group that spends money to support or oppose a candidate or ballot issue to disclose its donors and campaign expenditures, and
- Require that legislative and district candidates file campaign finance reports electronically.
Time is running out - the Montana Legislature is considering SB 289 and will be taking action in the coming days.
Sign the petition supporting the Montana Disclose Act today!
We believe that BIG money, whether it comes from wealthy individuals, corporations, or unions should not dominate our elections. The Citizens United decision applied to both unions and corporations because unions are corporations. Montana campaign finance law has always treated them the same. Montana has been a model for clean, fair elections. Why? Because we had a ban on corporate campaign spending and candidates had to abide by contribution limits ($160 per donor per election for a legislative candidate). Now, all of that is at risk. American Tradition Partnership is pushing an agenda, through the courts, to eliminate all of our campaign finance laws and clear the way for unlimited, secret, untraceable money. This is not a liberal vs. conservative issue. This is not a Democrat vs. Republican issue. This issue is about restoring fair elections. That is why people of all political stripes support I-166.
“A representative democracy only works when everyone truly has a voice, and when the voices of the many aren’t drowned out by the pocketbooks of a few.”
(Helena Independent Record Editorial, 2-21-12)
Our Elections Are Under Assault from Big Money
The U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 decision in Citizens United vs. FEC opened the floodgates for corporate money. In that decision, the Court ruled that corporations have the same rights as people, and that their unlimited corporate political spending equates to constitutionally protected free speech.
On June 25, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision on the case challenging the Montana Corrupt Practices Act. The Court refused to hear the case. Instead, the Court decided to summarily reverse the Montana Supreme Court, throwing out our century-old ban on corporate money in elections.
It’s Time to Fight Back
We believe that the U.S. Supreme Court grossly missed the mark. Quite simply, corporations are not people, they shouldn’t be granted the same rights as people, and they certainly shouldn’t be allowed to buy elections. And the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on Montana's Corrupt Practices Act only means that the campaign FOR I-166 is more important than ever.
It’s time for all Montanans to stand against corruption. It is time to fan the flames of the prairie fire Montana started by standing up against the U.S. Supreme Court and its Citizens United decision. It is time to stand with Montanans in support of I-166.
Gov. Schweitzer and Lt. Gov. Bohlinger Call on You to Join the Fight
Stand with Montanans is supported by:
Stand with Montanans is about people. It's about restoring government that is of, by, and for the people.
While this is a people-powered campaign, it also takes money for us to be effective.
Your support will enable us to put organizers in communities across Montana to work with the hundreds of Montanans that have already volunteered to help with the I-166 campaign.
Please donate what you can, because every donation makes a difference.
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