Montana Politics

Hill Running Out of Time to Buy Election

District Court Judge Kathy Seeley placed a temporary restraining order on the Hill campaign, telling them to stop spending the over-the-limit money until a hearing can be held next week. In addition to the $500,000 from the Republican Party, Hill also received $39,613 from individuals giving over the limit, according to court documents filed by the Bullock campaign. The hearing will be October 29th, eight days before the election.  Even if Seeley rules quickly, Hill will have barely any time to use his new half million dollars.

Accepting the $500,000 was both an ethical lapse and a strategic blunder for Hill. Was the campaign so cash-strapped that they needed to turn to anonymous (likely out-of-state) donors? Did they expect Montanans not to notice or care? And most puzzling, why didn’t they predict a fierce response from Steve Bullock, the champion who’s spent the last two years fighting an uphill battle against anonymous corporate money and Citizens United?



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  • Ethical lapses seem to me to be the order of the day for republicans. They are especially apparent with Hill but nearly as obvious with Rehberg, Fox and others. In my opinion they have decided that the public is not smart enough to know the difference and/or is too complacent to care. Illegal contributions, disenfranchising voters, outright lies and any other unethical activity is ok with that lot.

  • Just curious, as American party politics is corrupt up, down, over and under both in and out of your state. Under what stretch of logic does “out-of-state” money take on a nastier pall than in-state money? Are you merely saying you prefer local corruption?

    • If Hill is going to owe one-third of his election (and all of his final momentum) to any one source, I prefer it to be a Montanan. It’s not radical to think that the Governor of a state should be responsive to its citizens. Being in the pocket of an In-state megadonor is marginally better than an out-of-state one..

      • Feel the same way about out-of-country donations to Obama?

        Quote: “A report by the Government Accountability Institute (GAI) found that “during calendar year 2012, the Obama campaign received at least $4,580,805.35 from donors who did not submit a ZIP code, or submitted one that does not exist.” The finding suggests the very real possibility that the campaign’s online collection apparatus is allowing foreign donors to make contributions, which is a violation of federal election laws.

        In an independent investigation, the New York Post learned that one British citizen who lives outside London made two $5 donations to Obama’s campaign through its website, while similar attempts to give cash the Romney campaign were frustrated. The donor, Chris Walker, admitted that he had used his actual street address in England but entered Arkansas as his state of residence with the Schenectady, N.Y., ZIP code: 12345.”

        • Are you suggesting that campaigns should be held responsible when British citizens deliberately pretend to be Americans? Or just that I should be considered a foreign citizen if I don’t give my zipcode?

          A 99.3% rate of getting correct Zip codes is pretty good, considering typos and omissions.

          Of course, anyone should return confirmed foreign donations

      • But you’re OK with him owing his election to one Montana source paying 1/3 of his way then? Still corrupt, IMHO.

        Your statement that an in-state megadonor is preferrable to one out-of-state is problematic. Why does a person who happens to reside here and who buys a candidate benefit anyone else? What if this person wants the govenor’s cooperation in fencing off public land or streams? Seems that interests are not aligned by residency.

        • Both types of megadonors are abhorrent. I prefer contribution limits where no one donor can singlehandedly swing an election.

          But if I must have a mega donor, I’d prefer it to be one of the Governor’s constituents.

          But the actual donor providing money to the Rep. Party was just revealed as the Republican Governors Association, which has a complex series of PACs to hide the disclosure of a few wealthy individuals. I’ll have a more detailed post up tonight.

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Tyler Evilsizer

Raised in Helena, Tyler's particularly passionate about the environment, transparency, and wonky budget policy. The views expressed are his own.

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