A U.S. District Court judge in Montana, just weeks before Election Day, tossed the state’s campaign contribution limits saying only that the limits are unconstitutional because they “prevent candidates from ‘amassing the resources necessary for effective campaign advocacy.’”
The upshot? With no reasoning or findings of fact (the judge promises those will come later) the court opened the door to unlimited contributions to candidates. Want to buy an election? Now’s your chance. They are for sale in Montana.
It’s possible the Court of Appeals will issue an order preventing the judge’s ruling from going into effect before the election. But what is implicit in the ruling is that, this judge, anyway, believes unlimited campaign contributions are preferable to contribution limits approved by the state legislature. That’s not a good sign for anyone who supports the idea that our democracy should not be for sale.
Update: On Tuesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated Montana’s campaign donation limits, at least for now.