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Montana Politics

Art Wittich is a Clown

Always the statesman, Bozeman’s Senator Art Wittich offered his typically insightful commentary today following the announcement of Jonathan Motl as the next Commissioner of Political Practices:

MT Senate Majority Leader Art Wittich (R-Bozeman) said, “It’s disappointing but not surprising from this governor. Jon Motl will be the fourth Democratic partisan hack appointee in a row now. And he is probably going to target only Republicans and it’s going to lead to more scandal like the other commissioners.”

Of course, Wittich has reason to worry about the appointment of a competent professional to the Commissioner’s office. He’s in bed with the worst practitioner of dark money politics in Montana, American Tradition Partnership, as the Missoula Independent’s Alex Sakariassen noted back in January:

According to Wittich, ATP was represented by a partner at his firm during the 2010 district court fight against the Corrupt Practices Act. ATP went by the name Western Tradition Partnership back then, and a collection of checks made out by WTP reveals payments for the firm’s legal work—one check directly to Art Wittich for $2,000 signed June 14, 2010, and two $3,500 checks to Wittich Law signed in August and September 2010. The checks appeared among hundreds of WTP payment records loaded to the web by “Frontline” last November, separate of the meth house documents….

Wittich also has political connections to Direct Mail and Communications, a Livingston print shop run by the wife of one-time WTP official Christian LeFer. Wittich’s campaign finance reports for 2010 show $7,915.43 in payments to Direct Mail for numerous campaign material and mailing expenses.

Senator Wittich represents the worst of modern politics: without a shred of evidence, he’s willing to smear the good name of someone before he’s even taken the job as Commissioner, despite having a personal record that is incredibly questionable. His preferred candidate for the Commissioner’s office demonstrates that.

I’m willing to bet that Mr. Motl hasn’t had any shady dealings with direct mail firms whose documents were recovered from any meth houses recently. Perhaps there’s a reason even his fellow Republicans find Mr. Wittich so disagreeable.

Good luck, Commissioner Motl. With the hyper-partisan attitude of some members of the Montana Legislature already on display, you’re going to need it.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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