Montana State Capitol Photo Credit Todd Remington Architect
By MATT GOURAS Associated Press | Posted: Friday, July 20, 2012 12:00 am
The Montana Republican Party told a judge Thursday that Attorney General and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Bullock wrongly raised campaign money without declaring the office he was seeking on compliance forms.
The GOP asked Judge Wayne Phillips to force the commissioner of political practices, who previously dismissed the complaint, to reconsider the matter. The commissioner’s office argued the decision is not reviewable by the courts, and pointed out that the office has a history of allowing candidates to raise money before formally declaring the office they were seeking.
The court case also featured a seemingly ironic change of tune for major players in some high-profile cases dealing with Montana campaign finance law.
Montana Republican Party attorney Jim Brown has argued in federal court that many Montana campaign finance laws are onerous and unconstitutional. He serves as local counsel for a conservative group that successfully challenged the state’s 100-year-old Corrupt Practices Act in a battle that went to the U.S. Supreme Court.
But on Thursday he argued that disclosure on campaign forms of the office sought by a candidate is critical to the political regulation “scheme.”
“What we are really seeking here is a declaratory ruling on the meaning of the statue so our party and our candidates can act properly,” Brown told Phillips.
And Bullock, who has fought in the other lawsuits for more transparency as he seeks to preserve Montana’s campaign finance laws, has argued he did not need to disclose which office he was seeking last year while he was raising hundreds of thousands of dollars. He eventually declared in September he would run for governor, and now is facing Republican Rick Hill in a general election battle.
“The judge, from Lewistown, took the case after Helena judges who know Bullock recused themselves.
Phillips made headlines last year after freeing killer Barry Beach — after he spent three decades in prison — over the objections of the attorney general’s office. Bullock’s office is now arguing to the Montana Supreme Court that Phillips made the wrong decision in that case.”
- My oh my, what a tangled web we weave. No one else took the case and Judge Wayne Phillips had to take the case. Steve Bullock’s office is arguing that Judge Wayne Phillip made the wrong decision in the Barry Beach case, despite all evidence that would show he is not the killer. Commissioner of Political Practices Dave Gallick has left that office due to corrupt practices. Governor Brian Schweitzer appointed another Commissioner of Political Practices Jim Murry, a former state AFL-CIO union chief.
The campaign of defeated governor candidate Ken Miller has asked a state District Court to reverse the state political practices commissioner’s findings that it violated campaign finance laws. The petition says that Montana’s political practices complaint process for alleged violations of state elections laws “violates the due process and equal protection of the United States and Montana constitutions.” When the findings were released, Miller accused Murry, a former state AFL-CIO chief, of being “still very much a Democratic Party operative.”
The petition also seeks a preliminary injunction “to immediately enjoin the continued public dissemination and posting of the commissioner’s amended decision, as it contains unfairly prejudicial, non-relevant and clearly unsupported allegations of wrongdoing against Miller and other individuals.”
- Judge Wayne Phillips was blackmailed with a lawsuit earlier by his law clerk who wanted his job. She agreed not to go forward if he would agree not to run for judge again.
- My oh my, what kind of people do we have running here? People that would blackmail, wrong-doings, Commissioner of Political Practices going after someone like Ken Miller on one thing but they turn a blind eye to Steve Bullock. The complaint was dismissed against Steve Bullock but they go after Ken Miller with tooth and nail. Something seems very prejudiced and conniving. Isn’t Steve Bullock the one that wanted transparency and wanted to preserve Montana’s campaign laws? Do none of the rules apply to him? Others are charged, not Steve, others receive complaints against them and are violated, not Steve, others listen to the Supreme Courts Rulings, not Steve. Steve Bullock seems to not like the rulings of the Supreme Court nor Judge Wayne Phillips on the Barry Beach Case. He agrees to allow one of the good ole boys Jim Murry to make accusations and violate other politicians just as long as they turn their heads and keep him safe.
Montana, is this really the way that you want to live? Knowing that someone can strong arm their way into a position? Wouldn’t you like to be heard for a change? Doesn’t your view count as much as theirs? Steve Bullock backed down on many of the “hot” items. The one thing he definitely has not backed down on is his view that every other Montana citizen seems to be a criminal. Incarceration rates have reached an all level high in Montana since he has been in office. This is not something to be proud of. He has made it to where he is rewarding people by how many they can lock up, not on how many they successfully release. Also adding the fact when you have this high of an incarceration rate of 454+ incarcerated per 100,000 residents in a small population, well that tells you loud and clear that there is corruption abounding. These rates went up drastically on his watch. His office botched up one major investigation at MDC and they allowed the investigation at Montana State Prison slide as they probably will with Crossville Correctional. They cherry pick who they are going to put in prison and who they are going to cover for. Montana is this what you want? Is this what you want to pay your hard earned taxes into? Your taxes are only going to go up for more prison space that they are planning. For the high salaries. That’s not counting all the other plans they want to implement that is going to make it skyrocket. Why do you think they are pushing and focusing so much on crime? Is Montana really full of a bunch of criminals? Who would want to move here with “Innovate Montana” at this rate? It sounds like Montana is not only a police state but that it is filled with nothing but a bunch of thugs and sex crazed cowboys. I don’t know anyone that would want to move to a state like that. If this is how things went as Attorney General it is scary to think how it could be with Bullock as Governor. Think Montana, we do need hope and change for the better!
* This is not about political parties. This is about rooting out the truth and going by the facts and figures. There are many Democrats that are doing a fine job and have care for the people same as there are many Republicans that are doing a fine job and have a care for the people. If any of either party are corrupt, we need to have them gone. It is a shame as there could be many that are for the good but they have allowed power and money to take over. Just be informed when you vote.