State Judge Orders Montana Governor Candidate to Stop Using Disputed Campaign Donation
With only days left before the election, the Republican candidate for governor of Montana has been ordered to stop spending a large sum of campaign money while a state judge decides on its legality.
At issue is $500,000 contributed to Rick Hill by the Republican Governors Association through the state Republican Party.
The money was delivered in early October, after U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell threw out the state’s contribution limits, which capped total spending from a single contributor to a candidate at $22,600. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the limits a six days later, on October 9.
Hill contends it was legal to accept the half a million dollars while the limits were nullified.
But the Democratic candidate for governor, Attorney General Steve Bullock, disagrees and petitioned District Judge Kathy Seeley to issue a temporary restraining order forcing Hill to stop spending any of the $500,000.
Seeley complied with Bullock’s request, and is reviewing whether the contribution was legal. She will hold a hearing on the matter on Monday. In the meantime, Hill said he would loan his own campaign $100,000 in order to reinstate some of the TV ads he had purchased with the disputed donation.
The spending limitations were originally imposed after Montana voters, in 1994, passed Initiative 118.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
Judge Freezes Hill’s $500K - Candidate Told To Stop Spending Donation (by Charles S. Johnson, Montana Standard)
Hill Asks Feds to let him Keep Spending Disputed $500K Donation (by Charles S. Johnson, Missoulian)
Judge won't Intervene in Suit over $500K Donation (by Matt Volz, Associated Press)
Another Longstanding Montana Campaign Funding Law Struck Down (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
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