MTPR

Montanans Against Tax Hikes

Montanas Against Tax Hikes' campaign to vote no on I-185.
Montanans Against Tax Hikes

Updated at 4:45 p.m.

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The $26.1 million campaign over whether to keep Montana's Medicaid expansion program alive by hiking the state's tobacco taxes was the most expensive ballot issue in Montana since at least 2002, and likely in state history, according to reports. 

Sally Mauk: Welcome to 'Campaign Beat,' our weekly political analysis program. I'm Sally Mauk and I'm joined by University of Montana Political Science Professor Rob Saldin and veteran Capitol Reporter Chuck Johnson.

Dr. Pam Cutler, President of Western Montana Clinic, at Wednesday's rally in support of I-185.
Edward O'Brien / MTPR

Opponents of the ballot initiative to raise Montana’s tobacco tax dumped more than $3.5 million into their campaign in September - raising their spending total to more than $12 million.

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.