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Lawmaker Seeks to Dismantle Political Practices Office

The House Judiciary Committee did not take immediate action on the bill

By Dillon Tabish

HELENA — A Montana lawmaker is proposing to dismantle the independent office that oversees the state’s ethics, lobbying and campaign laws and turn those duties over to elected officials.

Republican Rep. Derek Skees said Friday the Office of the Commissioner of Political Practices has “totalitarian powers” that allows the commissioner to be prosecutor, judge and jury over allegations of campaign violations. He wants to transfer campaign reporting oversight to the secretary of state’s office and enforcement of campaign and ethics laws to the attorney general.

Both the secretary of state and attorney general are elected officials who are subject to the laws they would oversee.

Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl says his office does not consider political party when considering campaign or ethics complaints.

The House Judiciary Committee did not take immediate action on the bill.

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