April 7, 2017
Dear Fellow Montanans:
I know a number of you are waiting for further information regarding the appointment and confirmation of the next Commissioner of Political Practices. At this time, there isn't much more to report than you likely already know. The nominating committee of legislative leaders sent two names to the Governor: Benjamin Tiller of Helena; and Jeffrey Mangan of Great Falls. The Governor interviewed the two candidates on March 31, but he has not yet made an appointment. Because the Commissioner's position is not vacant, but occupied by holdover, the Governor is subject to no deadline as to the timing of the appointment. We need to wait until the Governor acts. During that time, I continue to serve as Commissioner of Political Practices under the authority of holdover.
This week the Montana Senate rejected HB 401 and HB 406, two bills that would have weakened the independence and effectiveness of the COPP. There are several similar bills still alive in the Legislature. One that many of you may not have heard of is SB 368, which has moved quickly, having been introduced, heard in committee, and passed out of the Senate in a single week. I have attached a copy of my SB 368 testimony below.
Lastly, we have received a number of phone calls from committees and individuals regarding contributions to the candidates involved in the upcoming special election for Montana's at-large US House seat. We have explained that reporting and disclosure in a federal election such as this is handled by a federal agency, the Federal Election Commission (FEC). While the only required filing and disclosure for candidates and committees involved in this special election is with the FEC, Montana committees may choose to also voluntarily file with our office, thereby providing some additional transparency through a disclosure system familiar to Montanans.
You can find the FEC's website here: http://www.fec.gov/