Montana Public Radio

Jeff Mangan

Raph Graybill
Courtesy

The Montana Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an effort by the state Republican Party to remove Democratic attorney general candidate Raph Graybill from the November ballot, saying the petition filed on Aug. 3 didn't rise to the level of urgency needed for the issue to bypass state courts.

Montana’s top elections enforcer says the Republican candidate for state auditor made seven campaign practice violations leading up to the June primary.

Commissioner of Political Practices Jeff Mangan found last week that Bozeman business owner Troy Downing failed to report several campaign expenditures, failed to include "paid by" attribution on campaign materials and didn’t notify opposing candidates of campaign mailers mentioning them within the required time period.

Official Finds Montana GOP Violated Campaign Finance Laws

Jun 26, 2020

The Montana Republican Party - and two minor party qualification committees - violated state campaign finance laws. On Friday, the commissioner of political practices said the violations happened when the groups successfully qualified the Green Party of Montana for the primary ballot without the Green Party's knowledge.

Dark Money Group Found In Violation Of Campaign Law

May 19, 2020
Montana Free Press

HELENA — Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Jeff Mangan issued a decision on Friday, May 15, stating that the organization behind a late-March cable ad mentioning Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Fox violated state campaign practice law. The organization, American Prosperity Group, purchased $28,837 worth of Montana airtime through cable provider Spectrum between March 24 and April 1, but did not register with the state as a political committee and did not file a finance report disclosing details about its fundraising and spending.

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

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.

Raph Graybill is one of two candidates in the Democratic primary for the office of Montana attorney general.
Courtesy Raph Graybill

A former Montana legislator has accused a fellow Democrat of being ineligible for the office he’s campaigning for, alleging he hasn’t practiced law in the state for long enough to run for state attorney general. A two-way Democratic primary is underway for the job, pitting Missoula state Representative Kimberly Dudik against Raph Graybill, chief legal counsel to the Governor’s Office.

Political ads for Montana’s 2020 gubernatorial race have appeared on Facebook at least 760,000 times since the start of the year. Montana Public Radio found nearly all of the candidates running for office didn’t follow state rules for disclosing details about those ads to the public.

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

The Montana Commissioner of Political Practices (COPP) rejected the Republican Party’s complaint against Gov. Steve Bullock Monday, which alleged the Democrat is using state resources in his campaign for president. 

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock speaking at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair, August 16, 2018.
Clay Masters / Iowa Public Radio

Gov. Steve Bullock’s presidential campaign has agreed to pay for the travel, lodging and meals of the Montana Highway Patrol security detail accompanying him on out-of-state campaign travel.

Bullock’s official staff signed-off on an agreement earlier this month to pay for the expenses after Attorney General Tim Fox ordered a stop to the security. As of publication time the exact cost of the security detail has not been made public. 

2019 Montana lobbying spending.
Cassidy Alexander, via Datawrapper / Montana Public Radio

At least $6.5 million dollars was spent on lobbying during the state’s 2019 legislative session. That’s according to the spending reports that groups trying to influence state lawmakers are legally required to file.

Montana Public Radio dug into the reports, which this year got harder for the public to make sense of.

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