Montana Politics

Let’s spend more money to put more money in elections

One of the more hare-brained schemes to come out of the Montana GOP in awhile: let’s call a special legislative session so we can raise the limits on campaign contributions.

And this is the fiscally responsible political party? It costs $92,000 to call the session and hold it for one day, and $44,000 for each day thereafter.

The ten Republicans asking for the session are from the far-right wing of the party — names that may be familiar to you — like Monforton, Pinocci and Swandal.

One of their claims is that surrounding states, Idaho, North and South Dakota, for example, have higher spending limits. So what? Do most Montanans really want more money in elections? I don’t think so.

And if there are any problems with current campaign finance laws, fix them during the regular legislative session. Special sessions should only be called when absolutely necessary. The last one was held in 2007 to deal with budgeting money for fire suppression and disaster relief.

Not only is this attempt a waste of money, it’s a waste of time. As MTN’s Mike Dennison reports:

An attempt by 10 Republican state legislators to force a special session of the Montana Legislature on campaign-contribution limits is unlikely to succeed, given the opposition of moderate Republicans and Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock.

A “yes” vote from 76 legislators is needed to call the session but with all Democrats and moderate Republicans voting against it, that ain’t goin’ to happen.

UPDATE: Here’s a Bozeman Chronicle piece on the subject. The Republicans calling for a special session claim it will save Montanans money because of ongoing campaign finance lawsuits. Who’s filing those lawsuits? The far-right that’s demanding a special session. Now that’s some chutzpah.

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.

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Pete Talbot

'Papa’ Pete Talbot is first and foremost a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren. Like many Montanans, he has held numerous jobs over the years: film and video producer, a partner in a marketing and advertising firm, a builder and a property manager. He’s served on local and statewide Democratic Party boards. Pete has also been blogging at various sites for over a decade. Ping-pong and skiing are his favorite diversions. He enjoys bourbon.

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