Jonathan Motl

Supreme Court Mailer
1:20 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Stanford, Dartmouth Apologize For Supreme Court Mailing

Dartmouth College and Stanford University today apologized for a controversial Montana campaign mailer. They’ll send follow-up letters to the 100,000 people who got that mailer, telling them to ignore it. Those letters are supposed to arrive before election day.
 
"I think it’s a good first step," says Linda McCulloch, Montana's Secretary of State. "I think it’s a good pre-election step."

Read more
State Laws 'Disregarded'
6:00 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

State Wants Stanford, Dartmouth To Apologize For Supreme Court Campaign Mailer

Jonathan Motl, Montana Commissioner of Political Practices.

Update 10/28/14
Read the apology letter from Stanford and Dartmouth here

Lawyers representing Stanford University spoke with Montana’s commissioner of political practices today about a controversial campaign mailer.

That flyer, sent to about 100,000 Montanans last week, used the state seal without permission, and purports to show the political leanings of those running for two seats on the state supreme court. Supreme court races in Montana are by law non-partisan.

Read more
Political Mailer
4:00 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Montana Secretary Of State Calls Out 'Deceitful' Political Mailer

Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch says this mailer is deceitful because the use of the Great Seal of Montana makes it appear to be a voter guide from the SOS office.

Have you received an official-looking mailer that rates the political leanings of Montana's four nonpartisan Supreme Court candidates?

If so, take a close look at it; the flier features an image of Montana's state seal and compares the candidates' political ideologies to those of President Obama and former Republican Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

Problem is, it's a fake. The state of Montana has nothing to do with these mailers.

Read more
Missoula County Sheriff's Race
4:43 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Missoula Sheriff Candidate Violated Campaign Finance Laws

Missoula County Sheriff candidates disagree about the seriousness of the violations.
Credit Courtesy Photo

Montana’s commissioner of political practices says Missoula County Sheriff candidate T.J. McDermott violated campaign finance laws.

McDermott has a very different interpretation of what that means than does his political opponent, Josh Clark.

Clark filed complaints about McDermott’s campaign practices in August.

Read more
Montana Politics Week In Review
4:42 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Clean Campaigns, A "Clean Platform" And Clean Coal

This week in Montana politics:

The A.P. reported that District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock rejected Sen. Art Wittich's attempt to dismiss campaign finance complaints filed against him. The ruling clears the way for the case against Wittich to proceed.

Read more
Montana News
3:53 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Closed primaries, V.A. craziness and campaign chicanery

Over the weekend, Montana Republicans held their platform convention in Billings.  Chuck Johnson of Lee Newspapers reports that Republicans, "Irked at what they believe is Democrats interfering in their primary elections. . . called for closing their primaries and allowing only registered Republicans to vote in them."  Delegates also supported a resolution to turn over federal public lands to the state.

Read more
McCutcheon Decision
6:41 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Motl: Supreme Court decision will not impact MT elections much

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to let individuals give to as many political candidates and campaigns as they want.

The 5-4 vote Wednesday, led by the court’s conservative majority, frees up wealthy contributors to give more campaign donations ahead of the 2014 election.

It will have an immediate impact on Montana races for federal office, such as the US Senate and House of Representatives.

But, the state Commissioner of Political Practices says statewide elections will not be affected that much.

Read more
Montana BASE
10:28 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Moderate Republicans touting virtues of “light money” PAC

The moderate GOP lawmakers calling themselves "Responsible Republicans" gather for a press conference following the 2013 Montana Legislative Session.
Credit Montana BASE website

 A group of moderate Republicans who denounce anonymous campaign spending in elections say their Political Action Committee, or PAC, plays by the rules.

PACs have been the source of so-called dark money over the last few elections cycles, and a lot of that spending in Montana has been aimed at helping more conservative Republicans win primary campaigns.

The moderates say this time they’re fighting back--in a transparent way.

Read more
Political Practices
2:43 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

State lawmaker accused of illegal coordination with dark money group

Rep. Mike Miller (R-Helmville)

Montana’s Commissioner of Political Practices this week issued a ruling accusing a sitting Republican state lawmaker of illegally coordinating with a “dark money” group during his 2010 campaign, an accusation the lawmaker denies.

Read more
American Tradition Partnership
2:39 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Judge fines “dark money” group more than $260,000

American Tradition Partnership, one of the primary “dark money” groups operating in Montana the past few elections, has been fined more than $260,000 for illegal campaign activity. This even as the group may be quietly dissolving.

“Here, we have what appears to be a deliberate attempt to evade Montana’s campaign and reporting requirements,” District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock wrote in his Monday ruling.

Read more

Pages