The lawsuit, Illinois Opportunity Project v Bullock, challenges Montana governor’s executive order requiring potential bidders for state contracts to disclose any donations to political parties, candidates and issue advocacy groupson the grounds it is stifling companies’ First Amendment rights while doing nothing to prevent corruption in the state contract bidding process.
This article originally appeared August 29, 2019 on KULR8 News.
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A conservative advocacy group is challenging Montana Gov. Steve Bullock’s executive order that requires organizations that receive large state contracts to report political contributions that exceed $2,500, even if those disclosures aren’t required under federal election laws.
The challenge was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court by the Illinois Opportunity Project, which said it plans to spend money during the 2020 election cycle to urge Montana gubernatorial candidates to repeal the executive order.
IOP argues requiring disclosure of donations could lead to personal and economic repercussions for its supporters, who may want to seek state contracts in Montana.
“Across the country, individual and corporate donors to political candidates and issue causes are being subject to boycotts, harassment, protests, career damage and even death threats for publicly engaging in the public square,” the lawsuit states.
Bullock, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president, has made campaign finance reform a key issue in his political career. He said IOP’s challenge shows the reason for his executive order, which took effect in October 2018. It requires companies that receive contracts valued at more than $25,000 for services or more than $50,000 for goods to report two years’ worth of political spending if that spending exceeds $2,500.