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Legislative Stalemate Over Nomination For MT Commissioner Of Political Practices

William Marcus

A meeting to come up with a list of candidates to nominate the state’s next Commissioner of Political Practices was canceled  this week, after Montana’s top legislative leaders couldn’t come to agreement. The meeting originally scheduled for Monday afternoon was postponed indefinitely. Republican Senate President Scott Sales says he took the meeting off the books when it became apparent the selection process for the state’s next top political COPP would again end in a stalemate. In a meeting last week, the four members of the Senate and House leadership in the nomination committee could only agree on one name to nominate to the governor. By statute, they need at least two.

Republican House Speaker Austin Knudsen says the nomination committee at this point doesn’t plan on bringing in any new names for consideration,  and it is still working to reach an agreement on at least one more of the more  than half dozen applicants.

"That’s the field we are working with," says Knudsen. "We are not out talking with anyone else. We’d like to put forward two or three of the applicants we have."

Republicans have so far rejected candidates they feel would be partisan in their rulings as commissioner, and Democrats have ruled out anyone who doesn’t have a legal background. If the committee fails to reach a decision, Gov. Steve Bullock can select anyone he wants for the job. The Senate must confirm that choice.


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Corin Cates-Carney is the Flathead Valley reporter for MTPR.