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Jul 27, 2012 8:39 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News

State campaign spending regulator says job changed after SupCo ruling

HELENA - Montana's regulator of campaign finance laws says in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on corporate spending in elections, his office is overwhelmed dealing with the changes.

As the Commissioner of Political Practices, Jim Murry's job is to make sure candidates and other political groups play by the rules.

But thanks to the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the state's Corrupt Practices Act, those rules are changing.

"I still feel that transparency is as important now, maybe even more important now," Murry says.

Corporations can now legally write checks from their corporate bank accounts to buy political ads.

"A good deal of that kind of money and that kind of advertising is negative," Murry says.

He says the other biggest change relaxed the rules when it comes to talking about a candidate's record.

"Candidates, independent committees and the PACs are free to say what they want about voting records and they can distort those records," Murry adds.

With these new changes, Murry says more and more people are calling his office asking what's legal and what's not.

Prior to the Supreme Court decision, he says his office was swamped with work and this just adds even more to his plate.

"We have some other problems because there are some ads that are being run and activity that is not being filed with us because of the contention that the ads are education in nature and not advocacy," he says.

Murry says even though some rules have been changed, Montana's campaign disclosures laws are still considered some of the best in the nation.

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