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May 18, 2016

 

Dear Fellow Montanans:

 

This is the further statement of Jonathan Motl, Montana Commissioner of Political Practices, as to the effect of the Order of the United States District Court for the District of Montana ruling that Montana’s statutory limits on contributions to candidates are unconstitutional.  The limits struck down were enacted by initiative vote of Montanans in 1994.

 

First, the Commissioner has this morning, consistent with the Court’s Order, issued a Decision dismissing a pending 2012 campaign practice complaint filed 2012 Candidate for Governor, Rick Hill.  The Commissioner will also dismiss three additional companion 2012 complaints.

 

Second, the Commissioner through this statement and accompanying revised Policy reinstates inflation adjusted 1994 contribution limits for 2016 elections as applied to contributions from individuals and political committees, other than political parties.    

 

Third, the Commissioner, at Part III of this Statement announces that the State of Montana will seek a stay of the Court’s Order as it applies to contributions by Political Party Committees.   The intent of the stay will be to restore current limits on political party contributions for the 2016 election cycle thereby providing candidates, committees and Montanans with the stability of a complete range of contribution limits (that is limits all sources of campaign contributions to candidates) for the 2016 election cycle.

 

 

I.  2016 Contribution limits for Individuals

Office

Contribution Limit – Per Election Cycle

Governor/Lieutenant Governor

$1,990

Other Statewide offices

$990

District Court Judge, PSC, State Senate

$530

All other elected offices, including House

$330

 

Please see accompanying Policy for an explanation of the calculation of amount and authority for setting these contribution limits.

 

II.  2016 Contribution limits for Political Committees,

Other than Political Parties.

 

Office

Contribution Limit – Per Election Cycle

Governor/Lieutenant Governor

$10,610

Other Statewide offices

$2,650

PSC

$1,330

State Senate

$800

All other elected offices, including House and District Court Judges

$400

 

Please see accompanying Policy for an explanation of the calculation of amount and authority for setting these contribution limits.

 

III.  Political Party Contribution Limits

 

The Court’s Order struck 13-37-216(3) MCA (2011), the subsection of law applying limits to political party committees.  The amounts for political committee contributions set by §13-37-216 MCA before the now voided amendment by I-118 were of a lesser amount than the amounts stricken by the Court’s Order.  Those 1994, pre-I-118, amounts are therefore implicitly stricken by the Court’s Order.  Until there is a further judicial action, such as a stay, there are no limits on political party contributions to candidates in Montana’s 2016 elections.  The State of Montana will, as soon as possible, petition ask the Federal Courts to stay the Order as to political party contributions for the 2016 election cycle.   

 

Accompanying this statement is a copy of the pertinent policy adopted by the Commissioner’s Office.  This Policy further addresses and explains the basis for reinstating the above limits. Contribution Policy

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Jonathan Motl

 


 

 

 

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