Jonathan Motl

Recent Posts

Prairie Lights: Did someone say ‘political hack’?


Having lost in District Court and now at the Montana Supreme Court, former state Sen. Art Wittich has appealed again to the court of public opinion, airing the same old grievances and portraying his lawless self as the victim of a dastardly conspiracy. Before the start of his trial on charges of breaking campaign finance laws, Wittich said then-Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl, who filed the charges, had no case. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Another candidate admits guilt in corruption case


Another Montana politician accused of illegally accepting campaign contributions from corporations has admitted his guilt and agreed to pay a fine. Pat M. Wagman signed a settlement agreement in which he agreed to pay a civil fine of $19,599 by Oct. 1, and to pay $100 a day for every day after that if the fine is not paid in full. Wagman signed the settlement on Aug. 8 and it was signed Friday by state Commissioner of Political Practices Jeff Magnan. Continue Reading →

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High court rejects Wittich appeal in corruption case


The Montana Supreme Court has denied former state Sen. Art Wittich’s four-part appeal of his conviction on charges of violating Montana’s campaign finance laws. Justice Beth Baker said in the 42-page opinion that the high court affirmed all of the District Court judge’s rulings in the case, and it found that former state Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl did nothing illegal in filing the action against Wittich in District Court. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Jailed ex-lawmaker called prosecution ‘political game’


The former state legislator who was jailed on Tuesday for contempt of court reportedly refused to cooperate with authorities regarding his involvement in a political corruption scandal, calling the court case against him “a political game.” Wesley Prouse, of Shepherd, who will turn 49 on Thursday, was in jail and could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but the Billings lawyer who prosecuted several Republican legislative candidates involved in the so-called dark-money cases gave an account of the events that landed Prouse in jail. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Lawyer faces sanctions for obstructing political probe


Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a statement from Jake Eaton. A District Court judge has agreed to impose sanctions on a Billings lawyer accused of attempting to obstruct an investigation into a so-called dark money group by the state Commissioner of Political Practices. The lawyer, Emily Jones, was accused of trying to intimidate potential witnesses by claiming that they could get into legal trouble for disclosing information about a defunct political consulting firm owned by her husband, Jake Eaton, a former executive director of the Montana Republican Party. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Bill to cut political practices commissioner moves to Senate


The Montana House of Representatives passed a bill last week that would shutter the Office of the Commissioner of Political Practices, which some critics say could put the integrity of Montana elections in jeopardy. The bill, introduced by a state lawmaker tied to one of the office’s most significant investigations, would place oversight and enforcement of campaign laws back into the hands of the secretary of state and attorney general, as it was before the office was created in 1975. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Ex-Laurel legislator settles corruption case, will pay fine


Former Montana House member Daniel Kennedy of Laurel has agreed to pay a $19,599 fine for accepting illegal campaign contributions during the Republican primary in 2010. In a settlement reached last Thursday and posted Tuesday on the Montana commissioner of political practices’ website, Kennedy said “I did not know at the time but now understand” that the package of campaign services he received came from the National Right to Work organization. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Shreds of hope on campaign finance laws

Last week I was feeling dispirited about the propaganda flowing into Montana by way of TV ads attacking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This week, I feel an acorn of hope. No, I still don’t know who has been buying those ads, other than the nonhuman face of Protect America’s Consumers. And the ads are still running in abundance, hour after hour, on cable news channels in a few targeted states, including Montana. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Wittich testifies for first time in political corruption trial


HELENA — State Rep. Art Wittich, the man accused of accepting illegal in-kind contributions and services from conservative nonprofit groups during his 2010 Senate race, took the witness stand in his own defense Thursday in Lewis and Clark County District Court. Wittich is on trial in a civil lawsuit brought by Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl, who has accused the Bozeman Republican of illegally coordinating with groups funded by the anti-union National Right to Work Committee. (more…) Continue Reading →

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