House Panel Hears Dark Money Bill

Lawmakers are considering a proposal requiring more disclosure of political contributions

By Tristan Scott

HELENA — Montana representatives are considering a proposal requiring the disclosure of more political donations and expenditures.

Republican Sen. Duane Ankney presented Senate Bill 289 to the House Business and Labor Committee on Tuesday.

The proposal would require groups to publish campaign finance reports if they spend money supporting or opposing candidates or ballot issues.

Opponents say the proposal gives too much rulemaking authority to the commissioner of political practices.

Montana Family Foundation President Jeff Laszloffy is concerned the measure could require religious organizations to publicize donations they receive, including tithes. He threatened to file a lawsuit if the bill becomes law.

The House voted 50-49 last week to send the bill to the business panel, which is considered to be more moderate and favorable to the proposal than other House committees in the Republican-led Legislature.