MTPR

Jonathan Motl

Republican Lawmakers Try To Cut Off Campaign Regulator's Pay

Jan 12, 2017
The sign outside the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Office.
Steve Jess

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana's Republican legislative leaders asked state officials Thursday to cut off Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl's pay amid a legal dispute over the commissioner's term of office.

While the maneuver appears to be an attempt to force Motl out of office, Senate President Scott Sales, R-Bozeman, said the issue isn't about the commissioner himself.

Keith Regier (R) SD-3
Montana Legislature

A new bill in Montana's Senate would decrease the amount of information people who donate to political campaigns must reveal to the public.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Keith Regier from Kalispell says he doesn’t think donors should have to share their employer or occupation when giving money to a political candidate or committee:

Montana FWP Appeals Ethics Ruling Over Trapping Initiative

Jan 3, 2017

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana's fish and wildlife agency is appealing a ruling that it violated the state's ethics laws by allowing equipment it owns to be used to advocate against a ballot initiative.

In November, Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl fined Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks $1,500 after finding the Montana Trappers Association used an FWP trailer and state-owned displays of furbearing animals to oppose the 2014 anti-trapping initiative. The measure never made it on the ballot, but was revived in 2016 and rejected by Montana voters.

Senate Republicans Seek To Push Motl Out As Commissioner

Jan 3, 2017
Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl testifies in his lawsuit against Republican Rep. Art Wittich, March 31, 2016.
Kimberly Reed

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Senate Republicans who oppose giving Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl a full six-year term in office want to intervene in a lawsuit that aims to do just that.

Senate Majority Leader Fred Thomas, R-Stevensville, told his GOP caucus Tuesday that a resolution will be introduced as early as Wednesday defending the Senate's confirmation process, which set Jan. 1 as the expiration of Motl's term.

(Un)Truth in Political Advertising

Nov 2, 2016

Lies. 

That’s how political candidates often describe their opponent’s advertisements that are saturating television, mailboxes, and social media.

What does the laws says about truth in political ads?

Not much, says Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl, because the content is protected by the Constitution’s free speech provisions.

“That is where the argument that you are interfering with the First Amendment speech right is strongest,” he says.  

The Montana Supreme Court has ruled to keep a Libertarian candidate for secretary of state on November's election ballots.
Josh Burnham

The Montana Supreme Court has ruled to keep a Libertarian candidate for secretary of state on November's election ballots. The justices, in a 5-to-1 decision, denied Montana Republican Party Chairman Jeff Essmann's request to remove Roger Roots as a candidate.

Groups Change Ad Strategies Before Campaign Finance Deadline

Aug 12, 2016
"Issue advocacy" from the 2012 Montana elections.
Josh Burnham

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Representatives from three organizations say they will either change or cease running issue ads that mention Montana political candidates ahead of a deadline Tuesday that would require them to register as political committees and make financial disclosures to the state.

Montana Lawmaker Seeks New Trial In Dark Money Case

Jul 22, 2016
Rep. Art Wittich (R) HD68
Montana Legislature

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana lawmaker is asking for a new trial after a jury ruled he took illegal corporate contributions from an anti-union organization in 2010.

Montana Campaign Watchdog To Review Political Party Committees

Jul 7, 2016
The sign outside the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Office.
Steve Jess

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — More than two dozen Montana campaign committees currently registered as political party committees may have to be reclassified as independent campaign groups or be re-established as official arms of the Democratic, Republican or Libertarian parties.

Rep. Art Wittich (R) HD68
Montana Legislature

  Today a judge fined state Representative Art Wittich $68,000 for campaign finance violations from 2010 that a jury found him guilty of in April. But the judge said Wittich does not have to give up his seat in the legislature.

District Judge Ray Dayton handed down the penalty today in Anaconda.

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