Appeals court OK’s Montana’s campaign contribution limits

A federal appeals court says the campaign contribution limits Montana voters enacted in 1994 are constitutional.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a ruling by U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell, who said the limits violated political speech rights.

The appeals court said Monday that Montana’s limits on direct contributions are justified in trying to prevent corruption or the appearance of corruption while still allowing both challengers and incumbents to raise enough money to run a campaign.

The decision notes would-be contributors are still free to volunteer their services, make donations to a candidate’s political party, send out direct mail or run other independent advertising.

The panel also said that while the donation limits seem low, they are quite reasonable compared to the cost of campaigning in Montana.