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Political Practices Appointee Jonathan Motl Discusses Accusations of Partisanship

Photo courtesy of Spappy.joneS/Flickr

On Tuesday, May 21, Governor Steve Bullock announced that Attorney Jonathan Motl had been appointed as Commissioner of Political Practices.

The Republican dominated Senate will still need to approve the appointment, and already there have been accusations that Motl is too partisan for the role.

Motl says partisanship is part of the process, but he sees the problem in the appointment process.

“When there is competition between two parties, neither wants to agree that the other does something right,” Motl said. “There is constant tension in the appointment process, including my appointment. I’ve been appointed by a Democratic governor and my appointment has been criticized by a Republican senate. But I’ve never been active. I’ve never run for political office in Montana. I’ve never been active in either political party. I have contributed to candidates. Personally I’m quite fiscally conservative and I’m probably socially liberal.”

The Political Practices Office is notorious for being understaffed and underfunded, leading to a back-log of cases. Motl says his particular skill set will help with that.

“I do bring something to the office which is unusual in the office’s history. I am a licensed Montana attorney and an experienced litigator. They have a good staff at the office. There’s professionals there who are experienced, but none of them are attorneys, none of them have litigated. so I bring a different set of experiences and talents to the office and I’m hopefulĀ  by bringing that, that I will speed the process up. I intend to be a hands on person in this position. I intend to do the work myself and I intend to work cooperatively with the people that are there.”

If confirmed by the Senate, Motl will begin working as Commissioner of Political Practices on June 10th, there are already over 40 pending cases waiting for him.

Jonathan Motl

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