Campaign Finance

Montana Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock signs a bill requiring more disclosure surrounding campaign donations in 2015 at the Capitol in Helena, while Republican lawmakers Rep. Frank Garner, left, and Sen. Duane Ankney look on. The new law will require groups that spend money on elections at the state level to disclose their donors, including those that have been previously exempt from the practice.

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a case that challenged Montana's law on disclosing the spending for political ads within 60 days of an election.

In August 2019, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Montana's law that nonprofit groups running ads that mention candidates, political parties or ballot issues in the 60-day window before an election have to report any spending of $250 or more and say who funded their efforts.

That's part of the state Disclose Act. At the federal level, those sorts of 501(c)4 nonprofits do not have to say where they get their money or how they spend it.

The case in Montana was filed by the National Association of Gun Rights in 2016. In their lawsuit, the group said it planned to send mailers in Montana but would not report its donors or spending, saying it was a violation of their constitutional rights of free speech.

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