The chair of Montana’s utility regulators violated state ethics during the 2016 election, according to a decision released today by Montana’s Commissioner of Political Practices.
Brad Johnson was fined $3,000 by the state’s top political cop after finding Johnson used state time and resources to submit a political opinion editorial targeting PSC candidate Caron Cooper, last year.
In ordering the fine, Jeff Mangan, Commissioner of Political Practices, said Johnson has a right to express his personal political views, but does not have the right to use a state computer, email system, or state attorney to review the op-ed.
Johnson says he is disappointed by the ruling and says his op-ed was an attempt to use his official role to clarify statements made by Cooper during the election.
“The record had been wrongly represented by the individual who filed the complaint, and I felt as chairman I was obligated to set the record straight,” says Johnson.
Johnson was not running for office during the 2016 election. He says he will not challenge the fine for violating state ethical standards.