Federal Court Smacks Gun Group’s Attempt To Keep Election Spending Secret

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Judge Dana L. Christensen

Judge Dana L. Christensen

A federal judge upheld Montana’s campaign finance disclosure laws as constitutional. His summary judgment ruling, released Tuesday, found that “the public’s right to know who is financing political campaigns vastly outweighs the minimal burden imposed by the incidental committee.”

The National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR), a Virginia-based tax-exempt group which aims to protect gun rights “without compromise,” sought to distribute a mailing to Montana voters but refused to register as a political committee as required under state law. It claimed that the state’s law violated its right to “free speech and association under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution,” and sought an injunction to stop the law, last October.

Judge Dana L. Christensen of the United States District Court for the District of Montana determined that the NAGR’s challenge failed “on all fronts,” forcing them to either disclose who funds their efforts or to avoid political activity in the state of Montana.