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Supremes Overturn Montana Campaign Funding Ban

Corporations can continue to directly fund TV spots ads advocating for the election of federal candidates in the run-up to elections

By the same margin -- 5-4 -- the Supreme Court Monday put an exclamation point on its decision in the Citizens United case, ruling overturning a Montana law, and a Montana Supreme Court decision, that held that corporations could not "make... an expenditure in connection with a candidate or a political committee that supports or opposes a candidate or political party."

Back in 2010, the Court struck down a similar federal ban, holding that it violated the First Amendment protection of political speech rights, which it concluded corporations have.

The court -- Chief Justice John Roberts joined by Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Kennedy, Monday said the Montana law was a similar violation and said that the arguments in support of the Montana law were either rejected in the Citizens United case of failed to distinguish it from that earlier case.

The dissenting Justices said that they disagreed for the same reasons in the dissent of Justice Stevens in the Citizens United case.

"To the detriment of voters, Citizens United will stand and unlimited secret spending will continue to influence our elections," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW, of the decision). "The Court's decision sanctions the current status quo whereby voters in the 2012 elections - perhaps one of the most critical elections in a generation - will be severely hindered in their ability to make informed decisions on Election Day."