HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated Montana's campaign donation, telling the federal judge who overturned it to outline his full reasoning so the panel can review the full case.
The court intervened late Tuesday less than a week after the judge's decision opened the door to unlimited money in state elections — during the height of election season.
Conservative groups emboldened by the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision have made Montana the center of the fight over many campaign finance restrictions.
The groups have convinced a federal judge to strike down several laws as unconstitutional, including the cap on contributions given to candidates by individuals and political parties.
Over the past week, Montana election officials had urged candidates to abide by the old limits. But attorneys for conservative and Republican groups advised candidates they could take unlimited money during that window.
Some candidates said they would abide by the old limits, while others considered the idea of taking larger donations. The effect won't be known until disclosure reports are filed later with the state Commissioner of Political Practices.