Montana’s campaign contribution limits directly address the anti-corruption state interest. While the minimum standard for corruption applied in Eddleman was much broader, the facts of that case also meet the definition of quid pro quo corruption or its appearance. Even if the contribution limits were originally conceived to prohibit a broader range of activity, they are still sufficiently tailored to pass muster under the narrower Citizens United standard. Montana’s long history of combatting corruption demonstrates that there is a compelling state interest.
Montana’s contribution limits are also closely drawn to that anticorruption interest. There is a freedom to affiliate that has been unchanged since Eddleman was decided. While Montana’s individual contribution limits are low by national standards, candidates still are capable of amassing sufficient resources to mount effective campaigns. Under an Eddleman analysis, the contribution limits are not so stifling as to render campaigns ineffective. Montanans wanted low contribution limits specifically to combat the type of quid pro quo corruption experienced in the age of the Copper Kings by requiring candidates to obtain broad-based contribution support. The limits are narrowly tailored given Montana’s history of political corruption. Because Montana has a compelling state interest and its campaign contribution limits are narrowly tailored to that interest, the limits should be upheld in the next hearing before the district court.
Connor Walker,Case Note, Montana’s Campaign Contribution Limits Put to the Test in Lair v. Bullock, 76 Mont. L. Rev. Online 225, https://scholarship.law.umt.edu/mlr_online/vol76/iss1/29.