States team up for end-around on Citizens United


U.S. Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court may have made it OK for unlimited funds to pour into politically-oriented non-profits at the federal level, but many states – almost half – are saying they should still be allowed to impose restrictions at the state level.

The state of Montana had already begun the process, arguing that it had strong historical reasons for imposing the restrictions toward the end of combating political corruption.

Now, according to the Associated Press, 22 states and the District of Columbia, led by New York, are backing Montana.

According to AP, the petitioning states say there are sharp differences between the Montana law and the issues covered by Citizens United, and argue that the Citizens United ruling therefore should not apply in Montana’s case – and of course, the same argument would apply to other states that have their own laws on corporate money in politics that are threatened by Citizens United.

One expert told AP that SCOTUS may listen to the petitioner’s case and perhaps might provide clarification, but suggested it was unlikely it would abandon its Citizens United ruling.

However, the states may ask the Supreme Court to do exactly that, suggesting that it erred in some regards on the Citizens United decision – particular, when it suggested that “unlimited independent expenditures rarely cause corruption or the appearance of corruption,” and suggest that a review of the entire case is appropriate.

According to AP, the states supporting Montana include New York, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.