Political Practices Commissioner for Montana, Jonathan Motl, recently issued several ruling against both Republicans and Democrats who violated proper campaign rules.

Motl spoke with KGVO News and detailed the best ways for those running for office and who operate campaigns or political action committees, to keep from violating campaign laws.

"We have three dedicated staff people who serve candidates," Motl said. "They are accessible anytime via telephone or email if you have any questions at all, and if you're a candidate or a member of a political committee, you should talk to them. That's Mary, Kim and Karen. They can guide any candidate or political committee through any kind of questions they may may have any questions about how to properly report and disclose."

Motl referenced the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision for changing the way campaigns are financed in Montana.

"For over a hundred years, Montana had a tradition of financing campaigns solely by people, but that changed in 2010 when the Supreme Court passed what was called the Citizens United decision," he said. "That removed part of Montana's law that prohibited corporate campaign expenditures in candidate elections. That has caused a considerable amount of adjustment as voters get used to that type of independent expenditures and the entities who must report and disclose."

Motl said his office has issued a considerable number of decisions against nonprofit organizations involved in 2012 and 2014 elections.

"Those organizations were fined, but the fines were mitigated, however, in 2016, I think that nonprofits are now perfectly aware of what's expected of them, but if they do violate the rules they will be fined, and the fines won't be mitigated, they will be substantial," he said.

Motl said he is counting on Montana citizens to be on the lookout for potential campaign violations and report them to his office for investigation.

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