The hearings officer in Gov. Brian Schweitzer's ethics case says the Democratic governor should be fined $4,100.

The state commissioner of political practices previously had found that Schweitzer broke ethics laws when he appeared in a public service radio advertisement during his 2008 re-election campaign.

The hearings officer appointed by the commissioner issued his recommendation Wednesday to the commissioner in the penalty phase of the case.

William Corbett says a fine of $100 per appearance of the public service announcement is adequate to send a "strong message to other officeholders."

A Schweitzer spokeswoman says the governor believes the finding is incorrect. The governor has said before that no state money was used.

A Montana Republican Party spokesman says the decision vindicates the party's decision to file the complaint.

Associated Press