Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock and his staff spent $30,688 in taxpayer money for their failed attempt to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, according to a public records acquired from the Department of Justice. Bullock, the current Democratic nominee for governor, previously claimed that the state shouldn’t waste money on expensive lawsuits like those against Obamacare.
Following the Supreme Court’s ruling that upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the attorney general released a statement saying he didn’t join the popular litigation because it would not have been fiscally responsible.
“Montana is in a stronger fiscal position than any other state in the country and we didn’t get there by wasting money on expensive lawsuits,” stated Bullock in a press release. “As I have said all along, adding Montana’s name to the list of states wouldn’t have done anything but cost Montana taxpayers money.”
Despite Bullock’s remarks, in 2010 he claimed he didn’t join the lawsuit against ACA because the case “lacked merit.”
According to the information acquired by Media Trackers, Montana taxpayers have spent at least $15,987 in attorney fees and $11,625 in expert witness due to Bullock’s failed attempt to challenge the 2010 Supreme Court ruling via the American Tradition Partnership (ATP) v Bullock case.
Deputy Attorney General Ali Bovingdon stated in an e-mail that the attorney general’s office incurred fees up to their appeal to the United States Supreme Court and that following the appeal there were no additional costs.
The attorney general personally defended Montana’s Corrupt Practices Act, a 100-year-old law which made direct campaign contributions from corporations illegal, against a lawsuit filed by ATP.
ATP claimed the law conflicted with the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling, which made direct corporate contributions legal. ATP appealed to the Montana Supreme Court, which disagreed with ATP and upheld the state law. In June, the Supreme Court overruled the state court ruling by a 5-4 vote without briefing or argument, citing the precedent in created in Citizens United. Read more here