New York Times: 24 States’ Laws Open to Attack After Campaign Finance Ruling

Written by admin on January 23rd, 2010

The New York Times points out consequences for states after the Supreme Court decision/

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Montana is one of the states that will probably be affected. It has one of the nation’s oldest campaign finance laws, approved by voters in 1912 after a copper baron, William A. Clark of Butte, bribed members of the State Legislature to get a United States Senate seat.

Chris Gallus, a former lobbyist and a lawyer who represents business interests in Montana, said his clients would most likely challenge the statute if it were not stricken.

States that can expect to see the biggest and most sudden influx of money are those — like Ohio and Florida — where it is relatively expensive to run campaigns and where races are competitive, said Ray La Raja, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He predicted corporate spending would increase in states where control of state governments hangs in the balance.

The ruling left many state lawmakers frustrated and uncertain how to proceed.

“It’s absolutely outrageous and we’ve got to find a way to deal with it,” said Michael E. Gronstal, the Senate majority leader in Iowa, where lawmakers were exploring how they might keep at least some of the restrictions on political expenditures in the current state law.

The decision could also affect pending trials, like that of Mr. DeLay, who was charged in 2005 with criminal violations of state campaign finance laws and money laundering.


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