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Monday, February 17, 2014

Federal Court Enjoins Montana Law Requiring Complete Disclosure of Candidate's Voting Record

Thursday, February 13, 2014
Contact: James Bopp, Jr.

Federal Court Enjoins Montana Law Requiring Complete Disclosure of Candidate's Voting Record
Tuesday, a federal court permanently enjoined a Montana law requiring those that published campaign materials about a legislator's record to include every vote that legislator has made on that issue.
A challenge to the law was brought by Mr. Matthew Monforton, a candidate for Montana House District 69, who is running in the 2014 Republican primary against encumbent Ted Washburn. As part of his campaign, Mr. Monforton intends to expose Rep. Washburn's flipflopping voting record on Obamacare on a billboard and by letter to constituents.
Under the law, for Mr. Monforton to publish materials about Rep. Washburn's record, he must include a complete list of all of Rep. Washburn's votes "on the same issue." "Rep. Washburn has been all over the map when it comes to Obamacare votes," says Monforton."There's not enough room on the billboard and my letter would have to be several pages long to detail all of Washburn's flipflopping." The suit was brought against Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl, Attorney General Tim Fox, and two county attorneys that can enforce the law. They all conceded in court filings that the law was unconstitutional and that they should be enjoined from enforcing it.
James Bopp, Jr., the attorney for Mr. Monforton, stated "The court was right to strike down the law as unconstitutional and enjoin its enforcement. Not only is the law unclear about what it requires, it requires a speaker to engage in political speech only in a certain way and with considerable effort, undermining the speaker's ability to say what he wants, how he wants, and when he wants." "An injunction was necessary," he continues, "because nothing prevents the State from changing its mind. Commissioner Motl or his successors can change the Commission's position on the validity and interpretation of the law at anytime, as we've seen in the recent Welch advisory opinion issued by the office."
The case is Monforton v. Motl, 6:14-cv-00002. The Complaint can be found athttp://www.jamesmadisoncenter.org/cases/files/monforton-motl/complaint.pdf, and the Permanent Injunction Order is available athttp://www.jamesmadisoncenter.org/cases/files/monforton-motl/court-order-opinion.pdf.

James Bopp, Jr. has a national constitutional law practice with The Bopp Law Firm, P.C.
The Bopp Law Firm, PC
The National Building
1 South 6th Street
Terre Haute, IN 47807-3510

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