Citizens Opposing Political Corruption
in Montana's Elections
September 12, 2016 Date Judge Brian Morris scheduled a trial on the lawsuit filed by the MTGOP that would close Montana's open primary. The trial will not take place because the plaintiffs got cold feet.
June 7, 2016 Montana Open Primary (Will it be the last one?)
May 4, 2016 Ravalli County Republican Central Committee v. Montana Secretary of State (Case 15-35967) before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Montana Republicans and Hawaii Democrats have hearings one after the other to appeal lower court rulings concerning the Open Primary. Montana Republicans are up first and have 20 minutes to make their case in Portland, Oregon.
November 19, 2015 Judge Brian Morris questioned the attorneys, Matthew Monforton and Stuart Segrest to determine if there was enough substance left in the lawsuit to deserve a trial. No matter what the judge decides, Monforton will find an issue to appeal to the Ninth Circuit.
November 3, 2015 Utah Republican Party v. Constitution Party of Utah (Case 2:14-cv-00876-DN-DBP) was decided by Judge David Nuffer. In essence, the judge declared the open primary unconstitutional. Utah has never held an open primary and will simply return to the primary used in 2014. Matthew Monforton made sure the decision became part of the record for his case.
September 18, 2015 The Montana Attorney General replied to Monforton's final plea to Judge Brian Morris. The AG simply blows away every argument Monforton has and makes him look ridiculous for ignoring Montana History. Attorney General Reply Brief
August 31, 2015 A statement of stipulated facts is due in Judge Morris' court. As Matthew Monforton outlined -- an expert witness report will include a review of the voting records of the legislators and assess how key issues were affected by those who benefited from cross-over voting at the primary. For this report, the Republican Party may squander up to $50,000.
May 12, 2015 Ravalli County Republican Central Committee and nine others gave Matthew Monforton permission to concede defeat and end the appeal.
May 5, 2015 Montana Governor Steve Bullock
signed into law HB 454. The law allows political parties to
establish their own rules regarding the selection of
internal leaders. This makes Matthew Monforton's appeal moot.
For non-lawyers that means "decided."
February 12, 2015 After Judge Morris failed to grant Matthew Monforton a Summary Judgment saying his judicial argument was valid, Monforton ran off to the 9th Circuit Appellate Court to beg for relief.
January 22, 2015 Third Amended Complaint filled. Seems like everyone is finally "in the pool" that wants to be.
January 21, 2015 Wasting no time, Matthew Monforton jumped over Morris to appeal the judge's ruling. What a way to make friends and influence people.
January 20, 2015 District Judge Brian Morris denied "Summary Judgment" meaning all points of the Republican Lawsuit must be argued and evidence provided.
January 10, 2015 The Republican State Central Committee met in Helena to discuss the Federal lawsuit filed by Attorney Matthew Monforton for ten County Central Committees. The state central committee embraced the initiative of the county committees. Republican showed a united front.
December 11, 2014 The first hearing--the Ravalli County Republican Central Committee etal Federal Lawsuit to close Montana's Open Primary--starts and probably ends in Great Falls before Judge Morris, Pray Courtroom.
November 7, 2014 Each party (the Ravalli County Republican Central Committee etal Federal Lawsuit to close Montana's Open Primary) submitted pretrial statements. The arguments are clearly drawn and the complaints look weaker than ever.
October 2, 2014 Four additional Republican County Central Committees joined the Federal lawsuit to close Montana's Open Primary. Sanders County Republican Central Committee, Stillwater County Republican Central Committee, Dawson County Republican Central Committee, Gallatin County Republican Central Committee.
September 8, 2014 Ravalli Republican leaders intent on excluding all but the politically correct who will sign a loyalty test also decide to file a Federal lawsuit. Ravalli County Republican Central Committee etal v. Linda McCulloch, 6:14-cv-58. Complaint for Injunctive Relief, filed 09/08/2014. Attorney Matthew Monforton provides legal counsel.
June 3, 2014 The shot heard around the state. State Rep. Pat Connell nosed out incumbent State Sen. Scott Boulanger for the right to run for the incumbent's senate seat. The Ravalli County Republican Central Committee declared "Crossover Vote! First, We'll Go to Court, then Onto the Legislature."
April 11, 2014 at the Great Northern, Best Western Hotel in Helena, the Spring 2014 Wheeler Center Conference on "Campaign Finance in the Big Sky and Beyond." A day-long event preparing Montanan's for the challenge of assuring a "fair and honest" election in November. Registration cost of $65 includes lunch (keynote address from Governor Bullock), as well as white papers produced as a result of the conference. Call (406)994-0336 for more information.
Western Tradition Partnership expanded and changed its name to American Tradition Partnership. ATP instigated a third court action challenging Montana's donation limits in election campaigns. On January 5, 2013, District Judge Jeffery Sherlock determined that ATP acted as a political committee in 2008 and must report spending and donors. In addition, Montana is seeking $321,365 in fines.
September 17, 2012, Sanders County Republican Central Committee prevailed in the Ninth Circuit Court. MCA 13-35-231 was struck down. The statute made it a criminal offence for political parties to support or oppose judicial candidates. The decision expands upon the Citizens United decision.
June 14, 2012, the briefs are filed with the U.S. Supreme Court. The most interesting brief was filed by twenty-three State Attorneys General and the District of Columbia supporting Montana's decision to keep its Corrupt Practices Act.
May 16, 2012. ATP won litigation Concerning Violation of Montana's Disclosure Laws by Corporations. Montana Citizens for Right to Work and The Sweet Grass Council for Community Integrity joined ATP to protect their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. October 19, 2011, Jim Brown, attorney for ATP, argued that Federal District Judge Lovell should disallow the claim of the Political Practices Commissioner that said WTP acted as a political committee and must obey the election laws. The judge ruled, before the Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of the Corrupt Practices Act.
March 18, 2012, Two groups, Stand With Montanans: Corporations Aren't People and Ban Corporate Spending Missoula, announced their intention to file an Initiative that asks state officials to prohibit corporate contributions to candidate campaigns. It will also direct Montana's Congressional Delegation to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolishing the 2010 Citizens United decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.
February 10, 2012, U.S. Supreme Court blocks Montana's ban on corporate spending in candidate elections. Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg and Breyer signed the order to halt enforcement of the century-old law.
January 13, 2012,
Citizens United Lawyer tapped to handle appeal. James Bopp Jr., a lawyer from Terre Haute, Ind., brought
the Citizens United case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Now he will
challenge the Montana ruling before that same body. He'll represent
American Tradition Partnership, Champion Painting and Montana Sports
A little known fact: James Bopp Jr. previously filed papers on 5/11/11 with the FTC to form the Republican Super PAC, Inc. The filing states the PAC intends to make independent expenditures after raising money in unlimited amounts from individuals and corporations. James Bopp is Treasurer.
January 5, 2012, American Tradition Partnership Appeals the decision of the Montana Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court must decide if it will hear the appeal.
December 30, 2011, Montana Supreme Court reinstates the Corrupt Practices Act. The Montana Supreme Court upheld the Corrupt Practices Act enacted by voter initiative 100 years ago. The court ruled that even in the face of the Citizens United decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, Montana had a compelling state interest to keep its elections and judiciary free of corruption or even the appearance of corruption. The court also determined that the Corrupt Practices Act also is narrowly tailored to achieve this goal.
September 21, 2011, Judge Sherlock's
The Montana Attorney General appealed Judge Sherlock's decision that the Montana Corrupt Practices Act is unconstitutional. The Montana Supreme Court will hear oral argument on the appeal on September 21, 2011 at 9:30 a.m. in the courtroom of the Montana Supreme Court, Justice Building, Helena, Montana.
September 6, 2011, ATP and others
filed in federal court to have the Montana’s election and campaign
finance laws as codified in Chapters 35 and 37 declared
unconstitutional because they restrict First Amendment free speech
and association rights. The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality
of these laws and seeks a preliminary injunction against their
Case: Lair et al v. Gallik et al. Case Number: 1:2011cv00102
October 2010, District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock determined that
Montana's Corrupt Practices Act was unconstitutional. The
Western Tradition Partnership, Colorado-based activist group.
Champion Painting, a Bozeman sole proprietor corporation.
Montana Shooting Sports Association, Inc. Missoula
January 2010, U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 130 S.Ct. 876, 175 L.Ed. 753 (2010)which said: prohibiting corporate money in election campaigns prohibits corporate speech. Corporations being "people," freedom of speech is guaranteed by the Constitution.
November 1912, Montana voters passed the Corrupt Practices Act that prohibited corporations from contributing to campaigns for political office. It remained in effect, as written for nearly 100 years.