State of Montana Archives: on Government Reform


Steve Bullock: Dark money makes our elections into auctions

I hope you will also help me preserve the integrity of our elections. In the century following the passage of the Corrupt Practices Act, Montana has benefitted from a strong citizen democracy. In the past several years, however, more money than ever before has been spent on political campaigns--both nationally & in Montana. As Attorney General, I fought to preserve our citizen democracy and stem the tide of this corporate money in our elections.

We have seen the rise of so-called "dark money" groups that target candidates, yet refuse to tell the voting public who they really are and what they really represent. They hide behind made-up names and made-up newspapers. They operate out of PO Boxes or Washington, D.C., office buildings.

Help me reform our laws, so that any organization spending money during the course of an election reveals the amount it spends and the source of its money. Together, let's guarantee that our elections will never be auctions, controlled by anonymous bidders.

Source: 2013 State of the State Address to Montana legislature Jan 30, 2013

Champ Edmunds: No limits on political contributions

Do you support limits on the following types of contributions for state candidates: Individual?

A: No.

Q: Political Action Committee?

A: No.

Q: Corporate?

A: No.

Q: Political Party?

A: No.

Q: Should candidates for state office be encouraged to meet voluntary spending limits?

A: No.

Q: Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?

A: No.

Q: Do you support the use of an independent AND/OR bipartisan commission for redistricting?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support requiring a government-issued photo identification in order to vote at the polls?

A: Yes.

Source: Montana Legislative Election 2012 Political Courage Test Nov 1, 2012

Dennis Rehberg: It's not about campaign spending; it's government spending

Early on in the debate, both candidates were asked several questions about outside spending and the relentless negative advertising voters have been subjected to this cycle. Rehberg attempted to steer the topic back toward one of his favorite talking points. "It's not about campaign spending," he said of the Senate race. "It's about government spending." This race has seen close to $20 million in spending by third party groups.

Tester, ever the opponent of Citizens United, acknowledged the problem in his closing statement. "We're back in 1912," he said, harkening back to the days of Montana's Copper Kings. "We've come back to a time when corporations can give unlimited amounts of money, secret money, and influence the political structure of this country. And that's scary for a democracy."

But Rehberg, who had no response when asked directly how much outside interests had spent in this race, doesn't seem to be too troubled by where that money is coming from.

Source: Missoula News on 2012 Montana Senate debate Oct 22, 2012

Jon Tester: Citizens United is scary for democracy

Early on in the debate, both candidates were asked several questions about outside spending and the relentless negative advertising voters have been subjected to this cycle. Rehberg attempted to steer the topic back toward one of his favorite talking points. "It's not about campaign spending," he said of the Senate race. "It's about government spending." This race has seen close to $20 million in spending by third party groups.

Tester, ever the opponent of Citizens United, acknowledged the problem in his closing statement. "We're back in 1912," he said, harkening back to the days of Montana's Copper Kings. "We've come back to a time when corporations can give unlimited amounts of money, secret money, and influence the political structure of this country. And that's scary for a democracy."

But Rehberg, who had no response when asked directly how much outside interests had spent in this race, doesn't seem to be too troubled by where that money is coming from.

Source: Missoula News on 2012 Montana Senate debate Oct 22, 2012

Dennis Rehberg: Citizens United ok: political free speech is most important

Tester was critical of the Citizens United Supreme Court case that has allowed corporations to have unfettered involvement in political spending. "We've seen tens of millions of dollars of secret money come into this state to define me as something I'm not," said Tester, who called for transparency about who contributes to political action committees.

Rehberg appeared to speak favorably of Citizens United, saying political free speech is the most important, but he added that he supports 100 percent transparency with campaign donations.

The problem, Tester pointed out, is that Citizens United doesn't require transparency in reporting political contributions.

Source: Daily Inter Lake on 2012 Montana Senate debates Oct 14, 2012

Dennis Rehberg: Supports cutting Public Broadcasting Service & Americorps

Rehberg was challenged about supporting cuts for the Public Broadcasting Service, Americorps and community health clinics that provide preventive care to women.

That served as an opportunity for Libertarian candidate Cox to jump in: "They're only talking about nibbling at the edges of some the proposed increases in federal spending," Cox said, adding that the country is likely to face $1.7 trillion in additional deficit spending next year. "We're talking about cutting PBS. Let's get real."

Source: Daily Inter Lake on 2012 Montana Senate debates Oct 14, 2012

Jon Tester: Oppose Citizens United: limit corporate political spending

Tester was critical of the Citizens United Supreme Court case that has allowed corporations to have unfettered involvement in political spending. "We've seen tens of millions of dollars of secret money come into this state to define me as something I'm not," said Tester, who called for transparency about who contributes to political action committees.

Rehberg appeared to speak favorably of Citizens United, saying political free speech is the most important, but he added that he supports 100 percent transparency with campaign donations.

The problem, Tester pointed out, is that Citizens United doesn't require transparency in reporting political contributions.

Source: Daily Inter Lake on 2012 Montana Senate debates Oct 14, 2012

Dennis Rehberg: There should be nothing more free than political free speech

Jon Tester stated that the widely criticized Citizens United ruling puts democracy at risk by giving corporations more power than people. The Supreme Court ruling undid past restrictions on political spending by corporations and special interest groups.

The decision has been derided by many Montana politicians. Montana, 21 other states and the District of Columbia have asked the high court to rule that Citizens United doesn't apply to Montana's or other state laws regulating corporate campaign spending.

Rehberg said he supported the 2010 ruling, although he added that there should be full transparency on where campaign money is coming from. "There should be nothing more free than political free speech," he said.

Tester responded that "corporations are not people. Because of Citizens United, corporations have more rights when it comes to donations than people do," he said.

Source: The Republic on 2012 Montana Senate debates Jun 17, 2012

Jon Tester: Citizens United ruling puts democracy at risk

Jon Tester stated that the widely criticized Citizens United ruling puts democracy at risk by giving corporations more power than people. The Supreme Court ruling undid past restrictions on political spending by corporations and special interest groups.

The decision has been derided by many Montana politicians. Montana, 21 other states and the District of Columbia have asked the high court to rule that Citizens United doesn't apply to Montana's or other state laws regulating corporate campaign spending.

Rehberg said he supported the 2010 ruling, although he added that there should be full transparency on where campaign money is coming from. "There should be nothing more free than political free speech," he said.

Tester responded that "corporations are not people. Because of Citizens United, corporations have more rights when it comes to donations than people do," he said.

Source: The Republic on 2012 Montana Senate debates Jun 17, 2012

Dennis Rehberg: Citizens United: nothing more free than political speech

Rehberg defended the Supreme Court campaign finance ruling "Citizens United" as vital to free speech. Incumbent Democrat Jon Tester responded that the widely criticized ruling puts democracy at risk by giving corporations more power than people. The Supreme Court ruling undid past restrictions on political spending by corporations and special interest groups.

The decision has been derided by many Montana politicians. Montana, 21 other states and the District of Columbia have asked the high court t Citizens United doesn't apply to Montana's or other state laws regulating corporate campaign spending. Rehberg said he supported the 2010 ruling, although he added that there should be full transparency on where campaign money is coming from. "There should be nothing more free than political free speech," he said.

Tester responded that "corporations are not people. Because of Citizens United, corporations have more rights when it comes to donations than people do," he said.

Source: New England Cable News on 2012 Montana Senate debate Jun 16, 2012

Michael Lange: Limit PAC donations, and full public disclosure

Federal campaigns have become all about how much money the candidate can raise, thus giving disproportionate power to big money contributors. I would support lowering the amount that PACs can donate to federal campaigns, lowering the amount that individuals can donate to federal races, and require full and public disclosure from candidates when they accept donations from a specific PAC. Also, I continue to support term limits for all federal candidates.
Source: Montana Congressional Election 2008 Political Courage Test Nov 1, 2008

Conrad Burns: Earmarks let me bring Montana a share of federal money

Q: Which of the 34 Montana earmarks in the latest transportation bill qualify as unjustified pork?

TESTER: Earmarking in the middle of the night, without transparency, is wrong for representative democracy.

JONES: Incumbents always put something in the transportation bill so they can brag about all the money they brought to the state. None of the 34 are qualified.

BURNS: Iím proud about what I brought back to Montana. Most of it is for infrastructure [in that bill]. That moneyís going to be spent somewhere in America, and I want Montana to get her share. If you leave it up to a faceless un-elected bureaucrat, with only 900,000 people, tell me how much weíre gonna get? Earmarks have to withstand the scrutiny of the subcommittee hearing, the full Committee hearing, & the full Senate. I have to go out & defend them, and itís pretty hard sometimes. We defend them, our name is on them, and thatís the way the process works. If they canít stand the scrutiny, they will not make it.

Source: 2006 Montana 3-way Senate Debate at MSU Oct 9, 2006

Jon Tester: Earmarks without transparency are wrong for democracy

Q: Which of the 34 Montana earmarks in the latest transportation bill qualify as unjustified pork?

TESTER: The current process of earmarking in the middle of the night, without transparency, is the wrong way for representative democracy to be working. Good projects, like this land-grant university, can stand up to the scrutiny of the light of day. Quite frankly, I donít support earmarks, period.

If a projectís a good project, which includes probably most if not all of those 34 earmarks, they could withstand scrutiny in front of the entire Congress. Iím not for earmarks because they donít pass public scrutiny with the transparency that our government and our forefathers set up.

JONES: Incumbents always put something in the transportation bill so they can brag about all the money they brought to the state. None of the 34 are qualified.

BURNS: Iím proud about what I brought back to Montana. That moneyís going to be spent somewhere in America, and I want Montana to get her share.

Source: 2006 Montana 3-way Senate Debate at MSU Oct 9, 2006

Jon Tester: K-Street cronies control Congressional spending decisions

Q: How would you reduce the federal deficit?

A: Iíd start with no-bid contracts in Iraq. Thatís kind of wild. Then negotiations for Medicare Part D prescription drugs--I negotiate when I go to buy a pickup truck, so we ought to be negotiating-- but thatís what happens when you have big pharmaceutical companies writing legislation. Itís time that we spend the money wiser, that we prioritize better, and start looking out for middle class folks. But thatís not the people who have control- the cronies on K-Street that buy votes have more control than the folks that elect us. You need to have people back there in Washington who have experience balancing a checkbook and setting priorities. I have balanced a checkbook in the private sector and in the public sector. My opponent has not been able to do that.

Source: 2006 Montana 3-way Senate Debate at MSU Oct 9, 2006

Stan Jones: Earmarks are unconstitutional incumbency protection

Q: Which of the 34 Montana earmarks in the latest transportation bill qualify as unjustified pork?

TESTER: The current process of earmarking in the middle of the night, without transparency, is the wrong way for representative democracy to be working.

JONES: Which qualify as unjustified pork? ALL of them. The federal transportation bill has become the true pork-barrel bill that Congress uses to enhance the ability of incumbents to get re-elected. They always put something in this bill so they can brag about all the money they brought to the state, all of which most likely is unconstitutional. Transportation bills should be for transportation. And very little federal money should be spent on transportation. Transportation is a state issue and should be funded by state funds. All 34 earmarks are unconstitutional and should be eliminated.

BURNS: Iím proud about what I brought back to Montana. That moneyís going to be spent somewhere in America, and I want Montana to get her share.

Source: 2006 Montana 3-way Senate Debate at MSU Oct 9, 2006

Bob Kelleher: Limit all types of political contributions, and spending

Q: Do you support limiting the following types of contributions to candidates: Individual?

A: Yes.

Q: PAC?

A: Yes.

Q: Corporate?

A: Yes.

Q: Political Parties?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information??

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support imposing spending limits on state level political campaigns?

A: Yes.

Q:

Source: Montana 2004 Gubernatorial National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 2004

Brian Schweitzer: Refuses special interest & PAC money for his campaign

Special interests have had far too much influence in Montana for far too long. I will not accept one cent of PAC or special interest money. I support full campaign finance disclosure and tougher ethics laws for lobbyists. To learn more about my proposed ethics reforms, please visit www.brianschweitzer.com. As Governor, I will work to enact policies that benefit the people of Montana, not special interests.
Source: 2004 Montana Gubernatorial National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 2004

Corey Stapleton: Limit political contributions; plus full disclosure

Do you support limiting the following types of contributions to state legislative candidates: Individual?

A: Yes.

Q: PAC?

A: Yes.

Q: Corporate?

A: Yes.

Q: Political Parties?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support imposing spending limits on state level political campaigns?

A: No.

Q: Do you support partial funding from state taxes for state level political campaigns?

A: No.

Q: Do you support voting on-line?

A: No.

Q: Do you support on-line voter registration?

A: No.

Q: Do you support increasing the number of signatures required to place an initiative on the ballot?

A: Yes.

Source: 2000 Montana State National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 2000

John Bohlinger: Supports term limits & campaign contribution limits

Do you support the current law, which limits the number of terms of the following Montana officials: State Senators and Representatives?

A: Yes.

Q: Governor?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support limiting the following types of contributions to state legislative candidates: Individual?

A: Yes.

Q: PAC?

A: Yes.

Q: Corporate?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support imposing spending limits on state level political campaigns?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support partial funding from state taxes for state level political campaigns?

A: No.

Q: Would you vote to ratify an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring an annual balanced federal budget?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support the current Montana law that prohibits corporate expenditures on ballot-measure campaigns?

A: Yes.

Source: Montana Legislative 1998 National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 1998

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