By Eliza Newlin Carney, Roll Call
A stream of amicus briefs to the Supreme Court on a closely watched political spending case turned to a flood by the end the week, as Members of Congress, attorneys general and advocacy groups weighed in.
The big surprise was a bipartisan brief from Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) urging justices to let stand a Montana law that bans corporate political expenditures. The court is weighing whether to take up a constitutional challenge to the law, and today marked the deadline for friend of the court briefs in that decision.
â€œEvidence from the 2010 and 2012 electoral cycles has demonstrated that so-called independent expenditures create a strong potential for corruption and the perception thereof,â€ the two Senators wrote in their brief. â€œThe news confirms daily that existing campaign finance rules purporting to provide for â€˜independenceâ€™ and â€˜disclosureâ€™ in fact provide neither.â€
Four House Democrats also weighed in with a brief: Reps. Robert Brady (Pa.), Charlie Gonzalez (Texas), Zoe Lofgren (Calif.) and Chris Van Hollen (Md.), who has authored the House version of a campaign finance disclosure bill. The case is Western Tradition Partnership v. Montana.
â€œThis case is a chance for the court to clean up some of the mess it made in Citizens United,â€ Brady, ranking member of the House Administration Committee, said in a statement, referring to the high courtâ€™s 2010 ruling to deregulate political spending. â€œSince that decision, weâ€™ve seen the effect of unlimited, secret contributions, and it is nothing like the majority opinion envisioned.â€
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