Former Montana Governor Candidate Scores Win in Campaign Finance Court Battle
Since the election of 2012, Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Rick Hill has been facing a lawsuit over money he received and spent during his campaign. At the time, Montana’s political practices laws were in flux after a district court judge revoked the state's campaign contribution limits. According to Rick Hill’s attorney Matthew Monforton, the efforts to penalize Hill failed on Tuesday, September 1st.
"They failed as of yesterday when the 9th Circuit told them that the more stringent standard is the standard that has to be applied," Monforton said. "It will hopefully be a final nail in the coffin of this unprecedented harassment that state authorities like Commissioner Motl and Attorney General Fox have been subjecting conservative Republicans to."
Although Hill may have won this round, Monforton said there are still big regrets about the 2012 election.
"We can't undo the election from 3 years ago, which is unfortunate because the illegal acts taken by state authorities against Rick Hill 3 years ago probably cost him the election," Monforton said. "We can't undo that abuse of power but at the very least we can get Rick Hill out of harm's way."
Montana Political Practices Commissioner Jonathan Motl said that the outcome of the next court case could change Montana’s campaign contribution limits.
"If the court determines that the state of Montana doesn't have a sufficient interest to limit contributions, then it will issue an order to that effect," Motl said. "If the 9th Circuit sustains that, then the contribution limits will be struck down. The people of Montana want contribution limits, but what the majority wants is not necessarily what you're allowed to do."
Monforton said Motl has little chance of winning since he already lost three years ago before Judge Lovell, and a retrial would require an even more stringent standard of proof. Motl admitted that the trial will be even more rigorous than last time.