High court sets oral arguments in campaign lawsuit

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A conservative group fighting campaign finance rules in Montana says in a recent filing that it agrees disclosure laws can apply to corporate speech, but Western Tradition Partnership argues it isn't subject to current disclosure laws because its attack mailers fall outside the definition of "electioneering."

The Montana Supreme Court has set oral arguments for September in the state's challenge to a district court decision that tossed out the outright ban on corporate political spending.

Western Tradition Partnership first filed the lawsuit last year piggybacking on the high-profile Citizen's United case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. The group aims to undo Montana's century-old restriction on corporate political spending.

Western Tradition is separately fighting a decision that it failed to report campaign expenditures. The group argues its activities are not intended to influence elections.

In a brief filed earlier this month with the Supreme Court on the main case fighting the ban corporate campaign spending, WTP made it clear it believes campaign finance regulation is OK.

"If the State is truly concerned with accountability, the state has other means at its disposal, such as disclosure laws, to make sure that people know who is speaking," Western Tradition argued in the brief. "It is inappropriate, and indeed, unconstitutional, to completely outlaw corporate political speech."



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