Associated Press: Montana Is Latest State to Reform Campaign Finance Rules


Some people aren't convinced the reforms will live up to the promises. Paul Ryan, deputy executive director of the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center in Washington, D.C., called Montana's efforts a squandered opportunity.

"I don't believe Montana's new disclosure law will in any way solve the dark money problem," Ryan said Wednesday.

Motl said the overhaul will set a level of transparency that is among the highest in the nation. Ryan disagreed.

"For everyone who thought it would fix the dark money problem, I predict they will be disappointed," Ryan said.

A main problem, as Ryan sees it, is the test used to determine whether an organization is a committee required to disclose its donors and spending. The Montana test requires the commissioner to determine whether "the primary purpose" of an organization is to support or oppose candidates or ballot issues.

That is a slight change from an earlier version that used the broader term "a primary purpose," but it narrows the disclosure test enough to create a loophole for 501(c)(4) organizations that don't want to reveal their donors, Ryan said.

Montana's new candidate coordination limits also lack a ban preventing candidates from fundraising for outside groups, Ryan said.

To read the full story at the Associated Press, click here.