Campaign 2012

Feb 29, 2012 9:49 AM by Marnee Banks - Montana's News Station

Montanans launch 'Corporations Are Not People' ballot issue

A national organization wants Montanans to stand with them by saying, "Corporations are not people and money is not speech."

The group Stand with Montanans filed ballot paperwork with the Montana Secretary of State on Tuesday morning.

If the language is approved the organization will begin collecting signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

The initiative is a policy statement and would not be binding law. It simply directs lawmakers to work toward changing the current law.

This campaign is a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision Citzens United which gives corporations the right to spend money from their corporate checkbooks to influence elections.

Helena attorney Jon Motl drafted Montana's initiative language.

"Here we have political campaigns, you have to talk, you have to speak. That is the essence of political campaigning, it's how society changes direction, it's how it decides which political direction it's going to move in. But the speech has to be fair. If it's not fair people lose political faith in their systems," Motl says.

In order to qualify for the ballot, Stand with Montanans need to collect more than 24,000 signatures.

Representatives say they hope to raise $300,000 for the campaign.

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