Corruption Risk Report Card
Rank among 50 states: 31st

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The story behind the score

Despite a reputation for open government, Montana has ambiguous ethics laws, weak disclosure requirements, and inconsistent enforcement. Read more from SII State Reporter Dennis Swibold.

Latest state news for Montana

A California organization receives $11 million from another group based in Arizona, which received the cash from a separate group, which in turn had it funneled from a fourth, based near Washington, D.C. Drug cartel money headed for an offshore account?  No, just state electioneering in a post-Citizens United world.

The current state of campaign finance affairs, laid out in a report Thursday from Stateline, exemplifies how the growing role of independent national political groups is causing problems for state officials trying to enforce their own election laws. Independent spending had unprecedented influence on state elections this year, with millions of dollars in corporate and other outside money shaping races across the country.

State integrity news for Montana, from the Great Falls Tribune:

It seems like I write at least one story each election cycle about a candidate or campaign using robo-calls. Candidates from both parties like to complain about how their opponent's use of robo-calls is "illegal" and "unethical." That might be true.

But what's also true is candidates from both major parties use them every year.

Read the rest of the story at the Great Falls Tribune.

State integrity news for Montana, from the Missoulian:

The former chief fundraiser for Republican Ken Miller’s gubernatorial campaign accused the campaign of breaking state law by accepting but not fully reporting donations over the legal limit and receiving “anonymous” donations from people using their debit and credit cards.

Kelly Bishop of Polson said Monday she quit the Miller campaign as chief fundraiser and finance director after seeing things occur in the campaign that “made me sick to my stomach.”

Read the rest of the story at the Missoulian.

State integrity news for Montana, from the Missoulian:

A district judge may have broken Montana’s code of judicial conduct when he wrote a letter soliciting donations for another judge who is running for a seat on the state Supreme Court.

The Montana Code of Judicial Conduct includes a section that limits a judge’s ability to engage in political or campaign activity to maintain public confidence in the independence and impartiality of the judiciary. Judges can endorse candidates for judicial office, but they are barred from getting involved in the money race.

Read the rest of the story at the Missoulian.

Corruption news for Montana, from the Missoulian:

A state district judge in Billings today upheld a ruling that Public Service Commissioner Brad Molnar, R-Laurel, violated state ethics laws in 2008 and should pay nearly $20,700 in fines and costs.Judge Susan Watters said in her order that then-Commissioner of Political Practices Dennis Unsworth properly found in 2010 that Molnar (pictured, right) violated ethics laws by soliciting money from energy companies to fund a Billings conservation event in 2007 and by using state equipment for his 2008 re-election campaign.

She also upheld Unsworth's ruling that Molnar should be fined $5,750 and pay $14,945 for partial costs of the proceedings against him.

Read the rest of the story from the Missoulian.

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