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Commissioner of Political Practices

Committee Met May 3, 2013: Watch Video Here

The Selection Committee responsible to submit names to the Governor met May 3, 2013 to consider which of the 11 candidates’ names will be submitted to the Governor.  The members of the Committee are President of the Senate Jeff Essmann, Senator Minority Leader Jon Sesso, Speaker of the House Mark Blasdel, and House Minority Leader Chuck Hunter.  The Committee must select at least two and not more than five finalist's names to forward to the Governor.  The Governor must appoint a successor within 30 days of the vacancy caused when the Senate failed to confirm the Governor’s appointment, Jim Murry, by the end of session. The Governor is not limited to selecting an appointee from the list submitted to him.

Each member of the Selection Committee chose their top  candidates who, were invited to attend the May 3 meeting, at 10:00 a.m. in Room 102 of the Capitol Building in Helena.

The Commissioner of Political Practices is responsible for investigating alleged violations of the election laws and, with the county attorneys, for enforcing election and campaign practice and finance laws. Qualifications for the job include being a citizen of the United States and a resident of Montana and, on the date of appointment, a registered voter in Montana.  The appointment is for the completion of the 6-year term ending December 31, 2016, and the candidate will be ineligible for reappointment. The position pays $57,699 annually.

The following individuals expressed interest in the position of Commissioner of Political Practices (in order of receipt of materials):

  1. Robert Hoffman, Helena, MT.   Currently the President and Co-Owner of Valor Infinity Studios, former investigator for former Commissioner Unsworth.
  2. James Ashmore, Helena, MT.   Currently in the Information Systems Security Office of the Department of Administration, and experience working on the COPP information technology systems.
  3. Debra Brown, Winston, MT.  Currently Treasurer of the Montana Republican Party with prior work experience in retail, construction, service, publishing, real estate, technology, and politics.
  4. Russ Hart, Missoula, MT.  Currently Hearing Officer with the Missoula Housing Authority and is an Attorney.
  5. Gary D. Moseman, Great Falls, MT.  Retired after 40-year career as reporter and editor in Montana. Most recently, Managing Editor of the Great Falls Tribune.
  6. Joel G. Krautter, Missoula, MT.  Law student. Most recently, Civil Division Legal Intern with the Yellowstone County Attorney’s Office.  (JD anticipated May 2014.) Also interned with Senator Baucus and MT Department of Transportation.
  7. Ellen Bush, Helena, MT.  Secretary for House Business and Labor Committee. Past Executive Director of CASA of Montana, Inc.
  8. Dan Ritter, Lakeside, MT.  Sergeant-At-Arms, Montana State Senate.  Realtor Sales Associate, Trails West Real Estate in Lakeside.
  9. Jonathan Motl, Helena, MT.  Attorney in private practice, with experience in campaign practices, ballot initiatives, and election litigation.
  10. Colleen Urquhart-Fillner, Helena, MT.  Experience in campaign and former staffer for Governor Racicot.
  11. Jeffrey A. Barber, Helena, MT.  Most recently Director of Government Relations for The Nature Conservancy.

The Selection Committee invited Ellen Bush, Robert Hoffman, Jonathan Motl, Dan Ritter, and Colleen Urquhart-Fillner to interview with the Committee members on May 3, 2013, in Helena, at the Capitol. All five invited candidates attended and were interviewed. Subsequent to the interviews and deliberations by the Selection Committee members, the Committee forwarded the names of all five candidates to the Governor for his consideration. Pursuant to sections 13-37-102 and 13-37-104, MCA, the Governor will appoint the Commissioner of Political Practices on or before May 24, 2013.

If you have questions, please contact Susan Fox at (406) 444-3066 or

Link to Commissioner of Political Practices website

Link to Statutes Pertaining to Commissioner of Political Practices

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Last Modified:
5/6/2013 11:21:14 AM