Jonathan Motl

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.


Candidates in the primary election can gather signatures for ballot initiatives at polling places, but they'd better be careful about it. That’s the word today from Montana Commissioner of Political Practices, Jonathan Motl.

The sign outside the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Office
Steve Jess

Montana’s Commissioner of Political Practices is asking a federal court to put on hold a ruling that would allow political parties to donate unlimited amounts of money to campaigns.

A federal court has ruled that Montana's campaign contribution limits are unconstitutional. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell on the limits passed in 1994 comes less than a month before the state's June 7 primary.

Judge To Decide Penalties In Next Phase Of Dark Money Case

Apr 11, 2016
Rep. Art Wittich
Montana Legislature

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Now that a jury has ruled a Montana legislator took $19,599 in illegal contributions, a judge now must decide whether to impose the ultimate penalty — the removal of an elected official from office, which hasn't been done by court order in 75 years.

Jury: Wittich Guilty Of Campaign Finance Violations

Apr 2, 2016
Rep. Art Wittich, R-Bozeman, testifies on the forth day of his corruption trial in Helena.
Kimberly Reed

It took a jury of six men and six women four hours Friday to find Bozeman Republican lawmaker Art Wittich illegally coordinated with non-profit third-party political groups during his 2010 primary election campaign.

Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl, the state elections enforcer who brought the civil lawsuit against Wittich for violations of campaign finances laws, told reporters after the trial that the jury’s decision will have lasting impacts on Montana elections.

Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl reflects during a break in the final day of his lawsuit against Bozeman Republican Rep. Art Wittich.
Kimberly Reed.

Testimony and arguments in the civil trial of State Representative Art Wittich wrapped up today. The jury is now deliberating the campaign finance charge against him. The Bozeman Republican has been on trial all week, sued by Montana's Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl. Motl says Wittich failed to report substantial contributions of campaign services provided by a national anti-union group in 2010. We spoke with John S. Adams, editor-in-chief of Montana Free Press about the trial's final day, and what happens next.