Commissioner: ‘Flirting’ with Candidacy Allowed Under Law

In complaint against Greg Gianforte, commissioner rules that a person may consider candidacy before formally declaring

By Tristan Scott

HELENA — A person considering a run for office does not have to file with the commissioner of political practices unless he or she has solicited or received contributions or spent money on a campaign.

Commissioner Jonathan Motl ruled Tuesday that Montana law allows room for a person to “flirt” with being a candidate before actually declaring his or her candidacy.

Motl rejected a complaint filed by a Butte resident against entrepreneur Greg Gianforte.

Richard LeBreche accused Gianforte of acting like a candidate before the Bozeman Republican’s August filing for an exploratory run for governor in 2016.

The complaint says Gianforte spent money on a website, an employee and went on a statewide speaking tour.

Motl agreed with Gianforte’s arguments that the money he spent was as an individual and not as a candidate.


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