MTPR

Montanans Against Tax Hikes

Big Tobacco Violated Campaign Laws, Commissioner Finds

Sep 10, 2018

HELENA — Two Big Tobacco companies violated Montana’s campaign practices and disclosure laws as part of a campaign opposing a tobacco tax ballot initiative.

That’s according a 14-page decision issued by the state’s top campaign practices official.


The latest fundraising reports show that opponents of the ballot initiative proposing increasing Montana’s tobacco tax boosted contributions by $7.7 million in August. That’s nearly eight times what the campaign supporting the ballot issue raised in the same period.

A unanimous Montana Supreme Court has rejected a tobacco industry-funded group's request to rewrite the ballot statement of a citizen's initiative to raise the state's tobacco taxes.

The opinion by Chief Justice Mike McGrath Wednesday says the statement written by the attorney general's office meets legal standards and will appear as is before voters in November.

Editor's note: A group named in the complaint responded to YPR's request for comment Monday night. This story was updated to reflect the emailed response.