From the Commissioner…
December 22, 2014
Dear Fellow Montanan:
Happy Holidays form our Office to your family. We must indeed be in the holiday season as no one has filed a campaign practice complaint with us for about a week.
And, speaking of complaints, this letter is our year-end report of work to Montanans. The COPP leaves 2014 with 17 pending campaign practice complaints, consisting of 7 complaints filed on 2014 campaign practices, 5 on 2013 practices and 5 on 2012 practices. The pending complaints, along with a chart summarizing COPP complaint practice resolution for the past 5 years, are posted for public review under the "complaints" icon located on the green, horizontal menu bar on the COPP homepage website.
As the summary chart shows, there were 95 campaign practice complaints lodged with the COPP in 2014, of which 81 were accepted for review and decision. The COPP issued 55 Decisions in 2014, resolving 72 of those complaints (18 were resolved in one Decision). The remaining 9 complaints were merged with other complaints (2) or remain to be decided (7). The 81 complaints filed in 2014 were the largest numbers of complaints filed in any one year with the COPP.
In addition to its work on 2014 complaints, the COPP has, since June of 2013, issued another 66 Decisions resolving campaign practice complaints filed on 2010 elections (34 Decisions), 2011 elections (2 Decisions), 2012 elections (15 Decisions) and 2013 elections (15 Decisions). In total, since June of 2013 the COPP has issued 121 Decisions resolving 141 campaign practice complaints filed concerning elections held in the past 5 years. These Decisions are posted for public review on the COPP website.
Please keep in mind that COPP staff engaged in many additional tasks during 2014. in 2014 the COPP staff carried out 4,745 inspections of 2014 campaign finance reports, settled over 20 Decisions by reaching Agreements and fines, took over 20 Decisions to District Court enforcement and issued 18 advisory opinion letters. Finally, the COPP staff worked, literally every day, to scan and post campaign finance information for prompt viewing by the public, candidates and press. As part of that effort the COPP launched CERS, its electronic filing program for candidates, an effort for which two COPP staff (Mary Baker and Kym Trujillo) received a State of Montana IT award of excellence.
Thank you for your attention paid to work of the COPP. We hope and trust our work improved your perception of fairness in elections and of responsiveness of government to the complaints of its citizens. Please feel free to call me or any member of the COPP staff if you have questions about our work.
Commissioner of Political Practices
The Commissioner has jurisdiction over laws and rules pertaining to: