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From the Commissioner…

July 24, 2014

Dear Fellow Montanans:

Remember Bill Murray in Groundhog Day? Time finally moves forward and Murray says "this could be really good". Well, Montanans, we may have a groundhog day moment at the Commissioner's office here in Montana. And it too could be really good.

First, the basic fact. The COPP's new electronic campaign finance reporting system for candidates for public office in Montana worked. The new system was launched, literally, the day before 2014 primary election reporting was due and it had some glitches. But those glitches had to do with the method of data input from candidates, particularly if some of that data was stored on and transferred from the former (now abandoned) inefficient data platform maintained by the old electronic reporting system. Once the new system accepted and closed input, the campaign finance data was instantly displayed on the COPP website for viewing by the press, public and opposing candidates. Contrast this with the hard copy filing of a campaign finance report that, after filing, required scanning and posting before the document was available to the public, a process taking at least three days. Truly, electronic filing is really good, promoting transparency, accountability and more confidence in governance.

The new system will next be used on October 23, 2014 for the 2014 pre-general election reporting period. The glitches encountered in the primary election reporting period no longer exist (all data from the old platform has been transferred) or have been fixed. About 103 of the 319 primary election legislative candidates used the electronic reporting in their primary election. Kym, Karen and Mary from this Office will be contacting the remaining 236 general election legislative candidates to encourage increased use of the new electronic reporting system for 2014 general election reporting. If all 2014 general election candidates use the electronic reporting system then the press, opposing candidates and the public will finally have true timely access to campaign finance information. In the words of Bill Murray that could be really good.

Oh, and the name of this new electronic reporting system? We are calling it CERS, for the Campaign Electronic Reporting System.


Jonathan Motl                                                                                                                                                                                             

Commissioner of Political Practices


  • Previous Commissioner Letters 
  • Statewide Candidate C-5 Reports due October 20th by 5pm
  • Statewide Ballot Issue Committee C-6 reports are due October 20th by 5pm
  • Statewide Incidental Committee C-4 reports are due October 18th by 5pm 
  • State District & County Candidate C-5 reports due October 23rd by 5pm
  • PAC & Party Committee C-6 reports are due October 23rd by 5pm
  • New: Public Employee Ethics Training


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