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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:

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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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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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