February 3, 2017 •
Bill to Eliminate Montana Office of Commissioner of Political Practices Filed
A bill was filed this week seeking to eliminate the Office of the Commissioner of Political Practices and split the duties between the attorney general and the secretary of state. Under House Bill 340, the secretary of state would be responsible for duties related to the filing of ethics, lobbying, and campaign finance reports while the attorney general would assume control of investigative and enforcement duties.
The Office of the Commissioner of Political Practices, which was established in 1975, monitors, enforces, and investigates lobbying, ethics, and campaign finance and is appointed by the governor.
This comes as the current commissioner, Jonathon Motl, is preparing to exit his position pending confirmation of a successor. Motl was appointed three years into a six-year term expiring on January 1 but remained in office awaiting a court decision on the ending date of his term, much to the chagrin of Republican lawmakers who have accused Motl of partisan bias.
The bill’s sponsor believes the office holds too much power for a single person and splitting the authority between agencies will benefit the State’s ethics supervision.
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