Montana Public Radio

Political Practices Commissioner Dismisses Complaint Against Secretary Of State Candidate

Feb 14, 2020

The top enforcer for state political campaign regulations says a complaint filed by Montana Democrats is frivolous.

Political Practices Commissioner Jeff Mangan wrote in his decision Friday that Republican Secretary of State candidate Christi Jacobsen did not use public time or resources in support of her campaign, as alleged by the Democratic party.

Jacobsen is the current Deputy Secretary of State.

The sign outside the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Office.
Credit Steve Jess / Montana Public Radio

The Montana Democratic Party accused Jacobsen of using state resources while talking about her campaign during a radio interview in January. During the interview Jacobsen discussed both election duties of the official office and her own candidacy for Secretary of State.

But the Commissioner's ruling finds Jacobsen was not at her place of employment during the call and was using her personal cell phone. The Commissioner also says Jacobsen’s appointed position with the Secretary of State's Office allows her time on the call to not count as a state resource.

Jacobsen says the complaint was politically motivated.

"I’m grateful that it was dismissed and they acknowledged that it was a frivolous complaint."

Jacobsen is one of four Republicans running in the GOP primary race for Secretary of State. The race also includes Clerk of the Montana Supreme Court Bowen Greenwood, state Rep. Forrest Mandeville and state Senate President Scott Sales.

Missoula state Senator Bryce Bennett is the only Democrat in the race.