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LETTER: Support Transparent Campaign Financing
Petitions are circulating to put Initiative 168 on the November ballot. This “Sunshine in Political Spending Act” is “to bring integrity back to Montana politics through transparency and accountability of political contributions and expenditures...”

Do we want to be a nation of, by and for secret PACs, or a land of, by and for the people? We should all be united to keep our cherished election process free from false information. I-168 would eliminate “dark money,” which is unlimited and unidentified campaign money fueling secret organizations which often circulate untrue information against candidates. It is a tool of both parties, so this is a bipartisan issue.

Some of these secret organizations exist only with a post office box address and were used to attack a number of candidates for public office in Montana in 2012. It is a disastrous result of the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court's unanimous decision in favor of Citizens United.

A federal and state election law attorney in Terre Haute, Indiana, shepherded Citizens United through the U.S. Supreme Court. This decision gave him the opportunity to interfere in 60 election-related cases around the country and to raise havoc in Montana.

A Montana attorney with close connections to American Tradition Partnership, an organization, which churned out massive false propaganda, teamed with the Indiana attorney to successfully overturn Montana's Campaign Finance Law. This created an uncontrollable mechanism for the secret organizations, fueled by unidentified “dark money,” to circulate untrue information against a number of candidates in 2012.

Many individuals have been fooled into supporting these actions as “freedom of speech.” Issuing slanderous misinformation in attacks against a candidate is ABUSE of free speech. It has enabled a leadership that attempts to intimidate into subjection legislators outside of its clique. This is the sort of subversion we read about in other countries. Will we permit it to continue here in Montana?

You can participate in putting an end to this form of corruption. Support the petition drive to put Initiative 168 (I-168) on the November ballot. While it does not go far enough, it is a step to let our legislators know that we the people insist on honesty, transparency, and reasonable campaign finance laws. Hopefully the legislature will create these reporting guidelines and move on to set limits on what individual candidates can spend in future election campaigns and eliminate outside money and special interest PACs from determining who our Montana elected officials will be.

The petition gives notice to our legislators in the 2014 session that we the people want an end to corruption through legislation for transparent campaign financing. For more information go to http://stopdarkmoney.com. Please sign and circulate a petition!

Mimi Milheim
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