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Judge rejects effort to suspend enforcement of Montana campaign finance laws

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HELENA, Montana — A federal judge has rejected an effort by a Helena-based nonprofit group to prevent the state from enforcing its campaign-finance laws.

An attorney for Montanans for Community Development had said the group wanted to publish political advertisements without being required to identify its donors.

U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen ruled Wednesday that the interest of Montana voters in transparent political funding outweighs the minimal burden imposed by campaign disclosure requirements.

Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl was pleased with the decision, especially due to the upheaval caused by a brief suspension of the state's campaign contribution limits two years ago.

Gubernatorial candidate Rick Hill accepted a $500,000 donation from the Republican Party shortly after a federal judge ruled the state's campaign contribution limits were unconstitutional. Days later, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the ruling.

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