Schweitzer, Bohlinger sign on to support I-166

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer signs a petition for I-166 with former MT Sec. of State Verner Bertelson (center) and Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger on Thursday

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and Lieutenant Governor John Bohlinger threw their full support behind an initiative seeking to ban corporate campaign spending in Montana elections on Thursday.

Schwietzer and Bohlinger signed the petition to put Initiative 166 on the November ballot during a ceremony attended by reporters and supporters of the Initiative.

The initiative would establish a state policy that corporations are not entitled to constitutional rights. It’s in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United decision, which says bans on corporate campaign spending are unconstitutional. That decision means I-166 has no legally binding way to prevent corporate political spending. Governor Schweitzer says that’s ok–the initiative is meant to send a message about values.

“We are going to lead a movement for this entire country that says individual citizens are going to stand up and say our government is not for sale. And that’s what signing this means. It says you can’t buy our government. The government belongs to the people,” Schweitzer said.

The group sponsoring this initiative, Common Cause Montana says Montana is the only state considering an initiative like this right now. Organizers need to gather nearly 25 thousand signatures across the state by June 22nd in order for the initiative to be placed on the November ballot.

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