Campaign finance disclosure bill headed to governor for signature after Senate gives final OK

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HELENA, Montana — A measure requiring more disclosure surrounding campaign donations has passed the Legislature and is headed to the governor for his signature.

Senators passed the bill as amended in the House by a vote of 30-20 on Wednesday.

Sponsored by Republican Sen. Duane Ankney of Colstrip and backed by Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, the measure aims to shed light on anonymous money that began flowing into elections after the U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The court held that it's unconstitutional to ban corporations from making political expenditures if the money is not given directly to a candidate.

Under Senate Bill 289, certain groups would be required to publicize reports on political donations and expenditures if they spend money supporting or opposing candidates or ballot issues.

Ankney said Tuesday that senators handled the bill civilly regardless of liking or hating it. Opponents had argued the bill is too vague and gives too much authority to the commissioner of political practices.

"Montana elections are about to become the most transparent in the nation, requiring those trying to influence our elections to come out of the dark money shadows. Our elections should be decided by Montanans, not shadowy dark money groups," Bullock said in a statement Wednesday.

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