Supreme Court Declines to Hear Montana Case, Keeping Disclosure Laws in Place

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear arguments in a challenge to Montana’s disclosure laws, which leaves standing a previous decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that affirmed voters’ right to know who is financing election advertising. The laws at issue require political groups that spend money to influence Montana voters to disclose basic information about their finances so that voters are able to properly evaluate the electoral messages they receive.

“Declining to hear this case protects the ability of state lawmakers across the country to use disclosure laws as a tool to promote transparency in elections,” said Paul Smith, vice president at Campaign Legal Center (CLC). “Many states and municipalities have laws that parallel Montana’s. Disclosure laws like Montana’s are critical because voters deserve to know who is spending money to influence their votes.”

Transparency is the foundation of an open democracy. Courts across the country have upheld a broad range of disclosure requirements against constitutional attack – including the Supreme Court of the United States, which has consistently approved campaign finance disclosure laws as a means of preventing corruption, and aiding voters’ ability to make informed choices on Election Day.

This lawsuit is part of a relentless legal assault on all campaign finance laws, which CLC has been beating back for years at the federal, state and local levels. CLC filed a brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in July 2017 in support of Montana’s law.

Learn more about the case Montanans for Community Development v. Mangan.