UPDATE – State Senator Wittich Comes Out Swinging Against Policitical Practices Commissioner
UPDATE 10 p.m. Tuesday, April 1
Republican State Senator Art Wittich came out swinging against charges by Montana's Commissioner of Political Practices, Jonathan Motl. Wittich flatly denies that he broke any campaign laws in the 2010 election. In fact, Wittich charges Motl with intentionally targeting conservatives, when Wittich claims Democratic Governor Steve Bullock himself is under a cloud of suspicion.
"There's been a standing complaint against (Democratic Governor) Steve Bullock about his 2012 campaign," Wittich said. "It's alleged that he laundered about $2 million dollars worth of money through coordinated activities. That investigation is going nowhere, and yet you see a variety of Republican legislators now under the gun."
Wittich says Motl's charge from Governor Steve Bullock was to target conservatives and get them off the ballot in any way possible.
"He talks a good game about fighting corruption in government, and yet here you have an agency of government trying to affect an election, by either taking people off the ballot, or making them look bad right about election time," Wittich said. "I think Motle did not look at the precedent. or at Montana law. The facts as presented, from what I've seen, are flimsy, and we need to go to a court to reverse his decision."
Wittich claims Motl is practicing dirty politics, and it shouldn't be tolerated by Montanans.
State Senator Art Wittich
Today, April 1, Montana Political Practices Commissioner Jonathan Motl filed a lawsuit in state district court and released a sufficiency finding indicating that a high profile state legislator had broken Montana election law.
"It [the decision] found a sixth and seventh legislative candidate from the 2010 elections to have violated Montana law," Motl said. "I think the reason why there has been so much attention paid to these, as compared to the five before them, is because one of the two candidates is a sitting senator, that would be Senator Art Wittich. He's also president of the Senate."
Though Wittich will receive the brunt of the press, 2010 candidate Wesley Prouse of Billings is also under suspicion.
"The finding found sufficient facts to show that both candidate Wittich and candidate [Wesley] Prouse engaged in activities coordinated with corporate entities such that they accepted in-kind corporate contributions. In-kind corporate contributions to a candidate for state office are illegal."
Motl said that he filed the lawsuit the same day as he released the findings, because the statute of limitations of four years was almost over.