- Associated Press - Monday, May 16, 2016

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A federal judge says he will decide whether Montana’s campaign contribution limits are unconstitutional without holding a trial.

U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell signed an order Monday canceling a bench trial that had been scheduled for next week. He will decide the case based on briefs and arguments by the state and attorneys for the plaintiffs.

Those plaintiffs are individuals, businesses and political parties seeking to strike Montana’s contribution limits before the June 7 primary elections. They claim the limits restrict freedom of speech, association and candidates’ ability to raise enough money to effectively campaign.

Attorneys for the state say Montana is justified in keeping the limits because they prevent corruption and its appearance.

Lovell struck down the limits once before in 2012, but they were reinstated by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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