Thank you, Sen. Tester, for listening to your constituents and introducing a campaign finance legislation package that includes a constitutional amendment declaring that corporations are not people. Montanans overwhelmingly approved the 2012 ballot initiative that directed our congressional delegates to propose amending the U.S. Constitution to state that “corporations are not human beings entitled to constitutional rights.” The initiative was overturned in a 2013 ruling by a state district judge in Helena; however, I find it refreshing that Jon Tester voluntarily listened to what 75 percent of his constituents said they want and proposed this constitutional amendment.
The other pieces of legislation he proposed relate to transparency in campaign finance. The SUN Act requires the IRS to disclose the identity of donors that give more than $5,000 to tax-exempt electioneering groups, thus illuminating dark money in politics. The Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act requires senate candidates to e-file their campaign finance reports. Montana has a long history of standing up for financial integrity in our politics — the state’s Corrupt Practices Act, which banned corporate spending from campaigns, dates back to 1912 but was overturned in 2012. I am grateful to Sen. Tester for confronting the challenges in the post-Citizens United judicial landscape and working for his constituents.
I hope that Sen. Daines will follow suit and co-sponsor these very important non-partisan bills.