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Government & Politics

Montana’s Disclose Act Key in 2016 Elections

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A campaign disclosure bill passed by the Montana Legislature and signed into law last year is putting new pressure on independent political committees.

  The Disclose Act requires all of the 122 organizations registered in Montana as independent political committees to report all their contributors and expenses. And they must do it electronically.

Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl says this new act is vital because candidates no long have to report these independent expenditures, which are by definition ,independent of the candidate.

Motl says the only report of an independent expenditure that public will have, the press will  have is from the committee. He says not only is the report going to be completely transparent because it’s filed electronically but  when its posted to the commission of political practices website  it is instantly available for review. 

With the electronic reporting, Montanans will be able to look into attack ads on TV or letters they receive in the mail from groups they’ve never heard of.

Motl says they’ll want to go on the commissioner’s website, find the group which they should be able  to,  pull up the report which they should be able to, and see how much was spend on the candidate that they got the support or attack letter or the attack ad. This transparency turns reporting and disclosure into reality by making that information available to people because it’s filed electronically.     

Governor Steve  Bullock signed the Disclose Act into law last April  amid concerns over the role so-called dark money could play in elections after the U-S Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision.