Missoula Attorney Challenges Montana Political Practices Commissioner With Political Bias
On Monday, District Judge Ray Dayton of Anaconda heard arguments from Bozeman Republican Art Wittich in preparation for a major Montana campaign finance case set to occur on March 28. Wittich is accused of accepting illegal campaign contributions, and Wittich’s attorney Quentin Rhoades argued during the pre-trial hearing that Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl has unfairly targeted Wittich.
"Why is it that only Republican's are bad people," said Rhoades. "Maybe it is the commissioner of political practices and his view of the world and colors and whether he is willing to resolve these cases with nominal fines or whether he wants to sue people in district court and remove them from office by subjecting them to bankrupting fines."
Rhoades pointed out that Motl was appointed by Democratic Governor Steve Bullock and that recent evidence indicates that Motl has not acting in an independent manner.
"Commissioner Motl is coordinating with the Governors office secretly," Rhoades said. "One of the top officials in his administration, Jim Molloy, has been privy to communication with Motl's office regarding the new regulations that have been implemented. That was disclosed only through Freedom of Information Act disclosures. That shows that either he was also consulting with top republicans or he is not independent and of course there is not any evidence that he ever consulted with any Republicans."
Whether or not Motl will actually testify during the trial is yet to be decided. Wittich’s team asked the judge to consider dismissing the charges and to consider barring Motl from testifying. Judge Dayton is expected to rule on these issues within the next week.