Gov. Steve Bullock’s administration argued along side the state of New Jersey in federal court in Great Falls Wednesday against the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS has loosened disclosure requirements for so-called dark money campaign groups.
The states are arguing that the Trump administration took a black marker to regulations for when nonprofit advocacy groups need to identify their biggest donors.
Last year the IRS announced it was changing the 40-year-old rules so certain nonprofit groups don’t have to name donors who give $5,000 or more.
IRS officials argued in court Wednesday that there is no need to collect that kind of information and it’s still available from the groups at request of the government.
The federal government also argues that the states don’t have a right to challenge the president’s executive decision.
Montana and New Jersey disagree. Deepak Gupta, an an attorney for the states, says the federal government overstepped its authority in changing the policy.
"This is a really important decision that we think shouldn’t have been made without the input of the states."
The states asked U.S. District Judge Brian Morris Wednesday to strike down rule. The IRS is asking the judge to throw out the state’s complaint.
The judge did not indicate when he would issue a ruling.
Gov. Steve Bullock sued the IRS last July soon after the new rule was announced. The two-term Democratic governor has made targeting money in politics a hallmark of his administration and now his campaign for president.