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November 19, 2015

New Mont. Rules Take Aim at 'Dark Money' in State Elections

Montana is set to implement new campaign-finance regulations next week to curb the impact of "dark money" from nonprofit organizations on state elections, reports the Associated Press. State Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl has been overhauling Montana election regulations to comply with the Disclose Act, approved by state lawmakers earlier this year.

The act grew out of allegations that nine state legislative candidates had coordinated with a conservative 501(c)(4) group. Such entities are not required to identify donors but under federal rules are not supposed to be primarily political in nature. The new Montana regulations will require more organizations to disclose donors and spending and limit their coordination with candidates and other groups.

Several states have taken similar steps since 2012, when the Supreme Court applied its Citizens United ruling to state races. That 2010 decision lifted limits on political contributions to independent organizations not directly affiliated with candidates or parties.