Thursday, January 5, 2012

hats off to Montana!

Suddenly, I wish I lived in Montana -- a state rife with gun-toters and other individualists of all stripes. It would be nice to live in a place where the state supreme court could simply say no to the U.S. Supreme Court's facile and disingenuous approval of corporate giving to political causes or candidates.

Montana seems to remember the impetus of their 1912 law ... the same impetus that is playing itself out today ... big time. In that year, "the State of Montana and its government were operating under a mere shell of legal authority." Copper barons wheeled and dealed and, as Mark Twain said of one of them, the man was "said to have bought legislatures and judges as other men buy food and raiment."

Montana's law is a straight-shooter, stating among other things that a "corporation may not make ... an expenditure in connection with a candidate or a political party that supports or opposes a candidate or a political party." Lawmakers these days might take an English lesson from those earlier times. Corruption was just too easy without some plain-spoken barrier.

The Montana Supreme Court ruled 5-2 to put itself on a collision course with the U.S. Supreme Court. If it were allowed, I would be first in line to donate to what is probably their losing cause. I have no doubt that Montana has its share of wink-and-a-nod corruptions -- what man-made body does not? -- but to stand up and be counted against just one of them is a source of national pride in my book.

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