Montana Lawmakers Kill Bill to Create Campaign Ethics Board

The measure would have created a four-member board to decide whether litigation proposed by the Commissioner of Political Practices is necessary

By Dillon Tabish

HELENA — State lawmakers have tabled a proposal to create a campaign practices and ethics review board to decide if criminal charges should be pursued in cases of alleged campaign violations.

Members of the House State Administration Committee deadlocked and subsequently tabled House Bill 623 on Thursday, leaving little chance it will be revived before a Tuesday deadline.

The measure would have created a four-member board to decide whether litigation proposed by the Commissioner of Political Practices is necessary. Currently, the governor appoints one commissioner who enforces Montana’s campaign laws. That person opposed the proposal.

Republican Rep. Ryan Osmundson said he brought the proposal to infuse bipartisanship in the state’s only political watchdog role.

Republican Rep. Art Wittich, who faces trial for a campaign violation, said existing oversight seems skewed.

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