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The Montana Supreme Court restored the state's century-old ban on direct spending by corporations on political candidates or committees in a ruling Friday that interest groups say bucks a high profile U.S. Supreme Court decision granting political speech rights to corporations.

The decision grants a big win to Attorney General Steve Bullock, who personally represented the state in defending its ban that came under fire after the "Citizens United" decision last year from the U.S. Supreme court.

"The Citizen's United decision dealt with federal laws and elections — like those contests for president and congress," said Bullock, who is now running for governor. "But the vast majority of elections are held at the state or local level and this is the first case I am aware of that examines state laws and elections."

The corporation that brought the case, and is also fighting accusations that it illegally gathers anonymous donations to fuel political attacks, said the state Supreme Court got it wrong. The group argues that the 1912 Corrupt Practices Act, passed as a citizen's ballot initiative, unconstitutionally blocks political speech by corporations.


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