montana political practices
BOZEMAN — American Tradition Partnership is not surprised Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock was found guilty Thursday of breaking state campaign finance laws regarding 11 illegal campaign checks totaling $15,472.15.
“Steve Bullock has repeatedly thrown false accusations at American Tradition Partnership and anyone else who questions his agenda,” said ATP Executive Director Donald Ferguson. “Once again we find out the only person breaking the law is Steve Bullock himself.”
“This is just the tip of the iceberg. Montana citizens have filed over a dozen other documented cases of Bullock pocketing illegal PAC and corporate contributions,” said Ferguson. “And there will be new documented revelations of wrongdoing and corruption against Bullock coming out as we verify the information.”
The decision was issued by Deputy Commissioner of Political Practices Jay Dufrechou, a former donor to Bullock.
American Tradition Partnership, through its Montana Statesman newspaper, is offering cash rewards for tips leading to the arrest. Citizens can forward information to firstname.lastname@example.org or 219-7287.
Since its founding in Montana, by Montanans, in 2007, ATP has held public officials accountable for corruption and cozy ties to job-killing environmentalists. The group has never been found guilty of wrongdoing, which is more than can be said for Steve Bullock.
From the Montana Statesman:
Steve Bullock (Attorney General), and the Montana Department of Justice don’t want you to know what they are lobbying for – and have apparently been running a disinformation campaign about what they support and don’t support.
This has been revealed in a formal complaint submitted to the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices.
The official complaint can be read here: Reid v Dep’t of Justice and Bullock
But there are many more campaign finance complaints against Attorney General Steve Bullock – just click on any of the state investigations below:
Once again Montana citizens have been forced to go to federal court to stop attempts by politicians to outlaw dissent.
And once again the Helena establishment’s efforts to outlaw dissent has been struck down as unconstitutional.
“U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull approved a settlement Tuesday in the case of a Billings minister who sued the state after being arrested on trespassing charges while gathering signatures for a ballot measure seeking to amend the state’s constitution to define unborn children as persons,” the Associated Press reports.
“We are very pleased that yet another absurd, anti-free speech Montana election law has been struck down,” said Bozeman attorney Matthew Monforton, who represented Zastrow. “This means that Cal and other pastors have the same right to engage in the political process that everyone else has.”
Attorney General Steve Bullock and Political Practices Commissioner James Murry were named as defendants, adding to the long list of suits filed against them citizens prosecuted for expressing conservative views.
After repeated courtroom losses to American Tradition Partnership and an admonishment from a federal court he was engaging in the “petty bureaucratic harassment” of innocent citizens for having political views different from his liberal one, Bullock did not even try to defend the latest attempt to prosecute citizens for speech.
The AP reports:
County officials did not allege that Zastrow violated the 1913 law on coercion or undue influence that limits the speech of ministers, clergy and churches regarding candidates and ballot issues. But Zastrow’s lawsuit sought to prevent the state from threatening to enforce it.
Assistant Attorney General Michael Black, who handled the case for the state, said he did not believe the statute had ever been enforced.
“Based on our review we chose to allow the court to enter the judgment that it was unconstitutional,” Black said.
Cebull granted a permanent injunction that prevents the state and county from enforcing the statute and prohibits its text from being included on “warning posters” which are displayed at polling places throughout the state, the newspaper reported.
American Tradition Partnership Executive Director Donald Ferguson released the following statement Friday afternoon:
I’m surprised to read Attorney General Steve Bullock claim he will not accept contributions above the unconstitutional $630 limit. Back when the contribution law was in force he violated it and other campaign finance laws at least 18 times.
Why did Bullock wait until the law was overturned to suddenly decide he’ll stop breaking it?
American Tradition Partnership follows every applicable law to the letter. Every case we have ever brought has eventually been settled in our favor. The law and the Constitution are always on our side.
But when it comes to breaking Montana’s campaign finance laws, Steve Bullock is a virtual Al Capone. Make no mistake. Steve Bullock is one of the most corrupt public officials in the United States.
According to sworn, documented complaints filed with the Commissioner of Political Practices (http://politicalpractices.mt.gov/2recentdecisions/docket.mcpx):
* Bullock pocketed contributions from the Pfizer drug company corporate PAC on Apr. 27, 2009, June 10, 2011 and June 4, 2012 that totaled far above the legal limit, by nearly 50 percent. (Tuininga v. Bullock)
* Bullock pocketed corporate PAC cash from British-based GlaxoSmithKline on Dec. 15, 2009, Aug. 1, 2011 and June 4, 2012 that totaled twice the legal limit. (Tuininga v. Bullock)
* Bullock pocketed primary election contributions from the Endo drug company corporate PAC on May 16, 2012 at twice the legal limit. (Tuininga v. Bullock)
(It should be noted Bullock was supposed to be negotiating with these drug companies on price-fixing allegations while taking that cash.)
* Bullock received a $300.00 check from the GFEA union PAC, on Mar. 16, 2011. GFEA is not a legal PAC, therefore Bullock accepted an illegal contribution. (Tuininga v. Bullock)
* Bullock took illegal contributions from the BFFL 521 union PAC, on May 16, 2012 that were more than double the legal limit. (Tuininga v. Bullock)
* Bullock also took $1,260.00 in funds from the MEA MFT COPE union PAC on February 1, 2012, that is also twice the legal limit. (Tuininga v. Bullock)
* Bullock did the same thing, which is again illegal, when he pocketed the same amounts from the HEA union PAC on June 4, 2012. (Tuininga v. Bullock)
* Bullock took funds at the legal limit from the Montana Public Employees Association PAC, on April 9, 2012, but then accepted an additional $500 – which is illegal – just weeks later on May 31. (Tuininga v. Bullock)
* Bullock took $600 from the “Rent-A-Center, Inc. Good Government Committee” PAC, the corporate PAC of Rent-A-Center, on June 30, 2011. Bullock then received an additional $660 on Apr. 13, 2012, which is above the legal limit both cumulatively and as an individual gift. Bullock also reported it as coming from the “RAC Good Government Committee” to make it appear to be a different donor. (Olson v. Swope)
* Bullock pocketed $630 from Glacier PAC on Mar. 11, 2012 that was legally designated for the general election, but Bullock reported it for the primary (Tuininga v. Bullock) That allows him to later solicit an illegal contribution.
* Bullock took two contributions from the Swiss-based Holcim corporation PAC totaling $620. Holcim wrote two checks, $310 for the primary and $310 for the general but Bullock reported them both for the primary (Tuininga v. Bullock). That allows him to later solicit an illegal contribution.
* Bullock pocketed contributions from The Home Depot corporate PAC totaling $1,260 on Dec. 14, 2011 for the primary election. (Tuininga v. Bullock) That is twice the legal limit.
* Bullock also did the same thing with Lowe’s corporate PAC on June 5, 2012 (Tuininga v. Bullock)
* Bullock took $310 from Publishers Clearing House, which is a corporation and not a PAC. (Swope v. Bullock) Corporate donations are expressly illegal.
* Bullock took three checks from “Citizens for Responsible Government – Employees of MSE,” one for $300 on May 12, 2011, one for $300 on Dec. 7, 2011 and one for $660 just a week later on Dec. 14, 2011. (Swope v. Bullock) The legal limit for a PAC is $630, putting Bullock over the legal limit by $600.
* Bullock took $600 from McDaniel Leadership PAC, which is not registered with the OPP. It also appears to be a corporation out of Arkansas (Swope v. Bullock)
* Bullock reported spending just $15 dollars for a room at the Big Sky Resort on Jan. 15, 2012. (Swope v. Bullock) Rooms cost well over $100 a night, therefore Montana law requires the difference should have been reported as a contribution to Bullock, which he failed to do. Additionally, corporate contributions are also illegal.
American Tradition Partnership follows every applicable law to the letter.
Steve Bullock habitually breaks the law, then tries to cover it up with phony allegations against others that are always thrown out of court.
Instead of false accusations and phony charges against law-abiding citizens Bullock should stop breaking the laws he’s supposed to enforce.
“The state’s top campaign ethics officer has resigned. Helena attorney Dave Gallik stepped down from his position as the Commissioner of Political Practices effective immediately,” Missoula’s KPAX Channel 8 reports.
“Staff in his office issued a statement Wednesday saying they have concerns over what appears to be unethical conduct violations by Gallik.”
It’s the latest in a long string of ethics and legal failures by the Office of Political Practices, which has been condemned by federal courts for the “petty bureaucratic harassment” of citizens opposed to the policies and practices of Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Attorney General Steve Bullock. ATP has long called for a reform of the corrupt agency.
American Tradition Partnership Executive Director Donald Ferguson released the following statement Monday morning in response to The Great Falls Tribune report on Montana Office of Political Practices personnel exposing unethical behavior by Commissioner David Gallik:
“As citizen-powered activists committed to holding public officials accountable, we are disturbed by the allegations of Office of Political Practices (OPP) personnel that Commissioner David Gallik has been using the office for personal benefit.
“We’ve long been concerned about the practices of OPP commissioners and other Montana officials, some of which are described in our lawsuits.
“ATP has been required to sue OPP over its efforts to limit and punish ATP for political speech protected by the First Amendment. This latest information is just one more sign of an out-of-control agency that needs to be made accountable to the public.
“As such, we and our many grassroots supporters across Montana encourage Commissioner Gallik, Attorney General Bullock and Governor Schweitzer to cooperate with a full, fair and impartial investigation of these documented allegations of wrongdoing made by nonpartisan public servants, no matter how serious the criminal implications.”
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