Montana House gives initial OK to contribution limit boost

AP

Print Article

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana House endorsed a measure Thursday that would raise campaign contribution limits for state candidates and change how the commissioner of political practices enforces campaign violations.

The bill passed an initial vote 54-46 Thursday and must pass a final vote before it goes to Gov. Steve Bullock, who has not said whether he would sign it.
"Anything that passes the House, I don't want it to impede the effectiveness and the abilities of the commissioner of political practices, but I'll take a close look at it if it gets to my desk," Bullock said.
The commissioner of political practices oversees and enforces the state's campaign, lobbying and ethics rules.
On Tuesday, the House rejected the same measure 50-50, but Rep. Theresa Manzella, R-Hamilton led a successful effort to bring it back to the floor for another vote.
"It brings transparency for all of us, it brings accountability for C.O.P.P.," she said. "It gives us a preliminary opportunity to address any campaign violations that we may not be aware that we're making and it aligns us constitutionally."
Manzella was referring to a lawsuit challenging Montana's campaign contribution limits as so low that they violate First Amendment free-speech rights.
A decision in that case is pending before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and outgoing Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl has cautioned lawmakers that raising the limits now could affect the outcome.
The bill would also add an outside mediator to review campaign violation decisions by the commissioner and give the attorney general oversight of campaign violation prosecutions that go to court, instead of the commissioner.
Rather than increase transparency and accountability, as Manzella said those provisions would do, it would decrease the commissioner's independent authority and undermine campaign disclosure reforms passed in 2015, Motl and Democratic lawmakers argued.
"I feel that any bill that is going to put more money into the process and have less transparency is a disservice to the people of Montana," said Rep. Zac Perry, D-Hungry Horse.
The vote came hours before the Senate confirmed the next commissioner of political practices, former Democratic state legislator Jeff Mangan of Great Falls.

Print Article

Read More Local News

‘Hamburglar’ posse strikes Evergreen drive-thru

May 26, 2017 at 7:33 pm | Daily Inter Lake A group of belligerent people reportedly stole a woman’s food in the drive-thru of a fast food restaurant in Evergreen, according to a Flathead Sheriff’s report. The people were allegedly calling the...

Comments

Read More

Bigfork hosts motorcycle memorial ride, poker run

May 26, 2017 at 7:35 pm | Daily Inter Lake Today, Bigfork is expecting more than 100 people on motorcycles to roll through town as a tribute to friends lost in a car crash and as a reason to fundraise for local veterans. It’s the 8th annual...

Comments

Read More

Flathead Forest opens all campgrounds

May 26, 2017 at 7:35 pm | Daily Inter Lake All Flathead National Forest campgrounds are scheduled to be open by the Memorial Day weekend. Holland Lake, Swan Lake, Emery Bay, Murray Bay, Devil Creek, Lid Creek, Lost Johnny Camp and Lost Joh...

Comments

Read More

Flathead student finds a way to fly

May 26, 2017 at 7:34 pm | Daily Inter Lake [Editor’s note: This is the first in a weeklong series recognizing noteworthy graduates from the Class of 2017. This year’s series highlights “the road less traveled,” students who are taking on uniq...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

News: (406) 837-5131
Advertising: 406-758-4410
Bigfork Eagle
c/o Daily Inter Lake
PO Box 7610
Kalispell, MT 59904

©2017 Bigfork Eagle Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X