FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 5, 2015
Dave Parker, Communications Director, Governor’s Office, 444-9844
Mike Wessler, Deputy Communications Director, Governor’s Office, 444-9725
Governor Bullock, Senator Ankney Announce Campaign Finance Reform Package
Will require broader disclosure election spending; corporate accountability; certification of compliance by companies contracting with the state; board of directors’ authorization of political spending
HELENA – Governor Steve Bullock and Senator Duane Ankney today announced a campaign finance reform package designed to return Montana’s elections to the people by requiring so-called “dark money” groups to disclose who is hiding behind their out of control election spending.
“These dark money groups corrupt our elections, and it’s time we break this 21st Century version of the ‘Copper Collar’ before we lose complete control of our elections,” said Bullock.
Bullock and Ankney outlined the details of the “Montana Disclose Act”, which mandates that every penny spent in Montana elections must be disclosed.
Highlights of the Act include:
- Creates and defines a new category of regulated political activity – “electioneering communications”;
- Requires spending disclosure for any “electioneering communication” made within sixty days of when voting begins in any election;
- Requires disclosure for all groups that make political expenditures or contributions, regardless of their tax status; and,
- Increases the frequency and length of time reporting is required during the election cycle.
Senator Duane Ankney, a Republican from Colstrip, said: “I am tired of getting gut shot by these cowards hiding in the shadows. It’s time we put a stop to these people and clean up our elections.”
In addition to the Montana Disclose Act, Bullock unveiled three other campaign finance reform measures:
The Corporate Accountability Act
- Introduced by Representative Bryce Bennett;
- Gives the Secretary of State the discretion to dissolve corporate entities that have been found guilty by a court to have violated Montana’s campaign finance laws; and,
- Targets the worst of the worst groups that willingly disregard our campaign finance laws.
The Public Contract Certification Act
- Introduced by Representative Rob Cook;
- Requires that individuals or entities contracting with state agencies certify compliance with Montana’s campaign finance laws or risk losing their contract; and
- Goal is to put public contractors on notice that compliance with Montana’s campaign finance laws is a requirement for doing business with the state.
The Expenditure Certification Act
- Introduced by Senator Sue Malek;
- Requires that the chief executive officer of a corporation or a union that qualifies as a political committee certify that its board of directors has expressly authorized expenditures or communications in support or opposition to any candidate or ballot issue within the calendar year in which the expenditures are made; and
- Certifications will be posted on the Political Practices website.
This package of reform is particularly timely as groups like AFP roam the halls of our capitol and target responsible legislators with dark money mailers. Thus far in the session, they have been successful in killing legislation designed to end their attempts to corrupt our elections.
“We need to get back to having legitimate elections instead of the auctions we now hold every two years. This package of reforms will help Montanans take back their elections – it’s now in the hands of the legislature,” concluded Bullock.