Montana Tea Party Group Sues to Protect its Free Speech

James Madison Center for Free Speech
1 South 6th Street
Terre Haute, IN 47807-3510
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Contact: James Bopp, Jr.
Phone: 812/232-2434; Fax 812/235-3685;
Montana Tea Party Group Sues to Protect its Free Speech

A father and daughter concerned with runaway government spending started a group called Montana Shrugged in 2009. It organizes, educates, and activates people to promote the understanding and execution of the United States Constitution. Such activities, however, are heavily regulated in Montana and are banned if done by corporations.
Montana law bans any corporation from spending money to influence an election. The Supreme Court unequivocally declared in its recent Citizens United decision that states have no legitimate interest in such prohibitions. Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock, a defendant in this case, said “corporations aren’t censored here.” We agree, they cannot speak at all.
Montana law also requires any corporation “incidentally” spending money to influence elections to comply with political committee burdens such as appointing a treasurer, establishing a separate bank account, and registering and filing regular reports with the Commissioner of Political Practices. Citizens United held that these burdens also violate free speech rights.
Because these regulations infringe on its right to free speech under the Constitution, Montana Shrugged filed suit today in federal court.
James Bopp, Jr., counsel for Montana Shrugged, explained that “these heavy burdens are exactly the types of burdens the Supreme Court has held do not apply to groups who occasionally mention candidates while rallying for issues of concern to them.”
The case is Montana Shrugged v. Unsworth. Copies of the complaint and other documents relating to the case are available in pdf online at the James Madison Center’s website.
Lead Counsel, James Bopp, Jr,. has a national federal and state election law practice. He is general counsel for the James Madison Center for Free Speech and former Co-Chairman of the Election Law Subcommittee of the Federalist Society. He has also successfully argued numerous times before the United States Supreme Court.

Local Counsel, James E. Brown, is a native of Dillon, Montana and is an attorney at Doney, Crowley, Bloomquist, Payne, and Uda, P.C. His practice includes representing clients in cases before the Commissioner of Political Practices and he advocates free speech protection.

2 responses to “Montana Tea Party Group Sues to Protect its Free Speech

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