As Corey Stapleton is fined for sending an e-mail announcing his candidacy for Governor, the current Governor’s questionable actions managed to slip by the COPP

 

Actual photo of the guy who investigates Liberals for the COPP

As we pointed out in our last article, every group seems to catch a break from the COPP except Conservatives.  Sadly, this is not a new phenomenon as the practice has been going on for years.  As we continue to pore over the complaints that were dismissed by the COPP, we continue to see a few of the same names who always seem to benefit from the good graces of whomever is in charge.

The synopsis below is one of those dismissed complaints regarding our favorite governor, Steve Bullock

 

COPP Complaint Pennington vs. Bullock, filed 2013, dismissed 2015

 

  • James Pennington, a Billings resident, filed a complaint against Steve Bullock
    • alleging that Bullock’s 2012 campaign violated campaign finance laws through coordination of campaign actions, involving several other third parties & political committees.
      • Third parties listed in the complaint include: The Build Montana PAC, MT AFL-CIO, MEA-MFT, MEA-MF*I COPE, MT-JET PAC, Montana Conservation Voters, Planned Parenthood of Montana, Democratic Governor’s Association, Montana Democratic Party, Big Sky Democrats, and Forward Montana.
    • (the complaint) alleges that Bullock’s 2012 campaign illegally coordinated activities with third-party groups that made independent expenditures supporting him through the same consulting firm.
      • (Pennington said that) the Bullock campaign – as well as Montana Democratic Party, Montana Conservation Voters, Planned Parenthood of Montana and the Montana AFL-CIO and its Build Montana political action committee – all retained the services and employees of Hilltop Public Solutions.
    • (the complaint said) that the tens of thousands of dollars independently spent by these groups in support of Bullock should have been reported as contributions to his campaign, but they would have far exceeded campaign limits.
      • Pennington said, “All persons identified here are obviously politically sophisticated. I believe their acts exemplify a lack of candor from individuals now purporting to champion the cause of campaign finance reform and full public disclosure.”
    • This complaint tests that principle by alleging an extensive inter- relationship “of common vendors (Hilltop) and political affiliations [such that] it is difficult to comprehend how these parties maintained the separation necessary…” to avoid coordination.

 

SUMMARY:

 

Pennington’s complaint states that:

  • Steve Bullock’s campaign worked with Montana Democratic Party, Montana Conservation Voters, Planned Parenthood of Montana and the Montana AFL-CIO and its Build Montana political action committee “to coordinate, manage, design and distribute campaign material to influence the results of the 2012 Montana election.”
    • This was purported to be done through the services employed by Hilltop Public Solutions.
  • Tens of thousands of dollars were spent independently by these groups in support of Bullock.
    • Pennington believes these should have been reported as contributions to Bullock’s campaign, but if they were, the total amount would have far exceeded campaign limits.
  • This complaint was dismissed by the COPP in 2015.

 

The list of complains that were questionably dismissed is long and distinguished.  please stay tuned for much more.

 

Bullock Benefits From Yet Another COPP Dismissal
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