Bullock and O’Leary Concert Tickets Could be State Ethics Violation, MT Political Practices Commissioner Explains
There may be even more to the story about Governor Steve Bullock’s attendance at the Paul McCartney Concert in 2014. The University of Montana says private funds were used to purchase the tickets for everyone, including the Governor, but that the cost of those tickets and who paid for them wasn't readily available. Cheap tickets at that concert ran at around 50 dollars or more and Bullock had much more expensive President's Box seats, which, as Montana Political Practices Commissioner Jonathan Motl explains, could be an ethics violation.
"There is a state law, it's not a campaign practice law, it's an ethics law, its 2-2-102 subsection 3 of the Montana Code Annotated and it defines a gift of substantial value as a gift with a value of $50 or more for an individual," Motl said. "That is a gift that a public official isn't supposed to be taking."
Motl says that during his three years in office he has never yet prosecuted anyone under this law and that it is rarely invoked.
"The thing I love about Montana, is that Montanans still retain an expectation that there be fairness in campaigns and honesty in their elected officials," Motl said. "I have to say, having worked with a lot of elected officials, most of them try to do the right thing. The ethics laws are rarely used."
Later, Motl also explained that there are two caveats to the law, one which deals with gifts trying to “influence” elected officials the other caveat relates to people trying to “reward” officials for official actions taken.