Unsworth Says Governor Violated Ethics Law

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – The state commissioner of political practices says Gov. Brian Schweitzer violated state law by distributing a public service announcement after filing for re-election last spring.

Commissioner Dennis Unsworth says he agrees with the examiner in the ethics case that the law was broken, but is withholding judgment on the recommended $750 fine.

Unsworth says further hearings are needed to establish the fine or sanctions.

State law bans the use of state funds for PSAs featuring an officeholder who has stated his candidacy. The Montana Republican Party filed the complaint over the PSA for Agriculture Month.

Schweitzer’s office says no taxpayer money was used to broadcast the public service announcement, which was given to a local radio station that requested it to air free of charge.