Troy Downing Can’t Even Follow Campaign Finance Regulations in Montana. How Can He Oversee Complex Industry Regulations?

I know it’s become sort of a feature, not a bug, among Republican circles over the past few years when candidates demonstrate an inability or unwillingness to follow the law, but State Auditor candidate Troy Downing seems committed to taking that contempt for the law to a new level.

During his campaign for US Senator, Downing demonstrated that he certainly doesn’t believe the law applies to him. Not only did he get caught for a series of serious hunting violations, but he was also caught taking a California resident tax break and acting as a registered agent for a California business while claiming Montana residency.

And yesterday, at one of his first campaign events for State Auditor, he broke Montana law again. The Montana Code Section 13-35 requires attribution for all campaign expenditures and that all materials used for campaigning include the candidate’s party affiliation if the race is partisan.

The Office of the Commissioner of Political Practices has even produced a simple brochure that explains these requirements.

And yet, when Mr. Downing marched in Great Falls yesterday, his sign neither included party affiliation identification nor a “paid for” line. From Downing’s Facebook page yesterday:


Downing at the Fourth of July 4 Parade in Great FallsA person could reasonably argue that this is a petty concern and that Downing was merely recycling his material from his failed Senate bid, but given that he is running to oversee complex regulation of the insurance and securities industries, it’s troubling to think that Downing isn’t capable of reading a one-page brochure to ensure campaign compliance and even more concerning to think that, just like his business, residency, and hunting violations, he just doesn’t think the law applies to him.

Montana has had ample experience over the past couple of years with an Auditor who is more interested in protecting campaign donors than Montanans. The last thing we need in that office after Matt Rosendale is someone who is so sloppy, corrupt, or both, that he routinely breaks laws big and small.

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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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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  • Don, have you ever met Mr. Downing? I am not particularly political by nature, but I did have the pleasure of meeting him last year and had no idea he is running for office. He is one of the most upbeat, and yet humble, incredibly successful men I have ever met. A man who earned great wealth at a very young age, on his own merit, and then volunteered to serve in combat in Afghanistan in perhaps the most dangerous military duty there is, Combat Search & Rescue. Who does that?!?!? Oh, and he spends a vast amount of his time selflessly assisting grievously injured war veterans with his time and money, to boot. And you spit on this man’s character?
    I don’t know his politics, but apparently you do and they are not yours, so you spend your time viciously attacking him . . . for what exactly? You would gain something you clearly lack, credibility, if you actually met Troy Downing before you decided that you hold a valid opinion about such an obviously great and decent man, which he clearly is to anyone without a poisonous political agenda. You’ve made it clear by your words that if a person decides to run for office and they don’t line up with your politics, then it is perfectly acceptable to publicly assassinate their character, rather than simply debate their policies. We should hold our journalists to a much higher standard.

    • I appreciate the comment, but I think we need to separate out a couple of things. It’s certainly possible that Mr. Downing is a great guy. It’s undeniable that he served in the military.

      But it’s also true (as adjudicated in court) that he broke Montana’s hunting laws. It’s also true (as proven through public records requests) that he took a California resident tax break while claiming to be a Montana resident.

      It’s also true (based on the plain facts of the photograph included here) that he failed to follow Montana’s campaign disclosure regulations.

      Pointing out those things seems important when determining who our next Auditor should be, and I think it’s unfair to suggest that I am trying to “publicly assassinate [his] character.”

      Happy to continue the discussion if you think I am wrong.


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