Jonathan Motl

Jonathan Motl is the Commissioner of Political Practices in Montana. It turns out, that's a difficult and controversial job. Serious state and national political interests care deeply about campaign contribution rules, anonymous or "dark money",  the definition of independent committees, and host of other issues. To top it off, Motl is up for confirmation during this session of the Montana Legislature. He has been strongly praised by some, sharply criticized by others. Listen in to hear what he has to say.

Lawmakers Consider Cuts To Commissioner Of Political Practices Budget

Mar 5, 2015

Today at the Montana Legislature, Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl argued that state lawmakers need to fully fund his department or he won’t be able to prosecute politicians abusing the system.

Lawmakers are considering a cut of about $100,000 from the commissioner's proposed budget, including eliminating the prosecuting attorney.

“It takes away the only attorney in the state of Montana who is dedicated to enforcement of Montana’s Campaign Practice Act.”

Eliza Wiley

This week on "Capitol Talk": The Flathead water rights compact passes out of committee. A bill intended to "shine sunlight on dark money" is making its way through the process. Lawmakers heard testimony on one part of the GOP healthcare plan. And next Friday is the bill transmittal deadline and halfway point of the session

Lawmakers Consider Changes To State Election Laws

Jan 21, 2015
William Marcus

Montana lawmakers are considering changes to the state’s election laws.

One bill (House Bill 77) would change who would prosecute political robo-calls which are against the law in Montana. The other bill would allow a special election to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate, rather than an appointment by the Governor.

Jackie Yamanaka of Yellowstone Public Radio has more from the Capitol.

Legislative News Roundup - Week 2

Jan 20, 2015
William Marcus

In the second week of the 64th Montana Legislature, two initiatives from Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock’s budget were opened up in joint appropriations subcommittees.

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."

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.

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.

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.

Clean Campaigns, A "Clean Platform" And Clean Coal

Jul 11, 2014

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.

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