About Bill -- Links
HOUSE BILL NO. 222
INTRODUCED BY K. GILLAN
A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT PROMOTING TRUTH IN CAMPAIGNING BY REVISING CAMPAIGN PRACTICE AND ENFORCEMENT PROVISIONS; REQUIRING CERTAIN CITATIONS FOR STATEMENTS OF MATERIAL FACT IN WRITTEN CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS; PRESCRIBING A COMPLAINT PROCESS FOR ALLEGED VIOLATIONS; SPECIFYING PENALTIES; REQUIRING THE COMMISSIONER OF POLITICAL PRACTICES TO BRING AN ACTION FOR CERTAIN VIOLATIONS OF CAMPAIGN PRACTICE AND FINANCE LAWS; AND AMENDING SECTIONS 13-35-225, 13-37-124, 13-37-126, 13-37-127, AND 13-37-128, MCA."
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Section 13-35-225, MCA, is amended to read:
"13-35-225. Election materials not to be anonymous -- substantiation of facts. (1) Whenever a person makes an expenditure for the purpose of financing communications advocating the success or defeat of a candidate, political party, or ballot issue through any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, outdoor advertising facility, direct mailing, poster, handbill, bumper sticker, or other form of general political advertising, the communication must clearly and conspicuously state the name and address of the person who made or financed the expenditure for the communication, including in the case of a political committee, the name and address of the treasurer. Communications in a partisan election financed by a candidate or a political committee organized on the candidate's behalf must state the candidate's party affiliation or include the party symbol.
(2) A campaign communication described in subsection (1) that makes a written statement of material fact about a candidate must include a reference citing the source used to substantiate the statement of fact. If the source is a published document, the date of the document's publication must be included in the source citation. If the statement of material fact is not substantiated with a source citation, the campaign communication must include a statement to the effect that the statement of material fact is unsubstantiated.
(3) If a document or other article of advertising is too small for the requirements of
subsection subsections (1) and (2) to
be conveniently included, the person financing the communication shall file a copy of the article with the commissioner of
political practices, together with the required information, prior to its public distribution. (3)(4) If information required in subsection subsections (1) and (2) is inadvertently omitted or not printed, upon
discovering discovery or notification of the omission, the person financing the communication shall file acknowledgment
of the discovery or notification of the omission with the commissioner of political practices within 5 days, and make every
reasonable effort to bring the material into compliance with subsection (1) within 2 weeks, and withdraw any noncompliant
communication from circulation."
NEW SECTION. Section 2. Complaint, investigation, and determination regarding compliance with election material requirements -- penalties. (1) A person may file a complaint with the commissioner for a violation of 13-35-225 as provided for in this section.
(2) A complaint under this section must be filed in writing on a form prescribed by the commissioner and must include a description of the facts constituting the alleged violation and other information required by the commissioner.
(3) Within 5 days of receipt of a complaint, the commissioner shall notify the person financing the communication that a complaint has been made. The notice must summarize the substance of the complaint, inform the person that the communication must be brought into compliance with the provisions of 13-35-225, inform the person that failure to comply will result in an investigation and a determination as provided for in this section, and state the penalty for noncompliance.
(4) Within 5 days of receiving a notice under subsection (3), the notified person shall provide the commissioner with a written response to the complaint. If the response includes an admission to any part of the complaint, the response must describe any action taken or to be taken pursuant to 13-35-225(4) to bring the communication into compliance. For each part of the complaint that is denied, the person's response must specify the grounds for the denial.
(5) If a complaint or part of a complaint under this section is disputed, the commissioner shall immediately begin an investigation and exercise the powers and duties authorized under 13-37-111 and, within 2 weeks of initiating the investigation, shall determine whether a violation of 13-35-225 has occurred.
(6) If the commissioner determines that a violation has occurred, the commissioner shall immediately notify the person financing the communication of the determination. A person determined by the commissioner to have violated 13-35-225 shall pay a civil penalty in the amount of $1 for each written communication circulated in violation of 13-35-225, up to a maximum of $500.
(7) If the person financing the communication fails to pay the penalty within 2 weeks of notification under subsection (6), the commissioner shall initiate a civil action as provided for under 13-37-113 to recover the damages.
(8) The cost for prosecution under subsection (6) must be paid by the state of Montana, and all amounts recovered in a civil action under this section must be deposited to the state general fund.
Section 3. Section 13-37-124, MCA, is amended to read:
"13-37-124. Consultation and cooperation with county attorney. (1)
Whenever Except as provided in [section 2],
whenever the commissioner determines that there appears to be sufficient evidence to justify a civil or criminal prosecution
under chapters chapter 35, 36, or 37 of this title, he the commissioner shall notify the county attorney of the county in
which the alleged violation occurred and shall arrange to transmit to the county attorney all information relevant to the
alleged violation. If the county attorney fails to initiate the appropriate civil or criminal action within 30 days after he
receives receiving notification of the alleged violation, the commissioner may then shall initiate the appropriate legal
(2) A county attorney may, at any time prior to the expiration of the 30-day time period specified in subsection (1),
his the right to prosecute and thereby authorize direct the commissioner to initiate the appropriate civil or criminal
(3) The provisions of subsection (1) do not apply to a situation in which the alleged violation has been committed by
the county attorney of a county. In this instance, the commissioner
is authorized to shall directly prosecute any alleged
violation of chapters chapter 35, 36, or 37 of this title.
(4) If a prosecution is undertaken by the commissioner, all court costs associated with the prosecution
shall must be
paid by the state of Montana, and all fines and forfeitures imposed pursuant to a prosecution by the commissioner, except
those paid to or imposed by a justice's court, shall must be deposited in the state general fund."
Section 4. Section 13-37-126, MCA, is amended to read:
"13-37-126. Names not to be printed on ballot. (1) The name of a candidate may not be printed on the official ballot for an election if:
(a) the candidate or
a the candidate's political treasurer for a candidate fails to file any statement or report as required by
this chapter; or
(b) the candidate or the candidate's political treasurer has been determined by the commissioner under [section 2] to have violated the provisions of 13-35-225.
(2) A vacancy on an official ballot under this section may be filled in the manner provided by law, but not by the name of the same candidate.
(3) In carrying out the mandate of this section, the commissioner shall, by a written statement, notify the secretary of state or the election administrator that a candidate or a candidate's political treasurer has not complied with the provisions of this chapter or with the provisions of 13-35-225, as described in subsection (1), and that a candidate's name should not be printed on the official ballot. The commissioner shall provide this notification by the ballot certification deadline provided in 13-10-208 for primary elections and by no later than 7 days before the ballot certification deadline provided in 13-12-201 for general elections."
Section 5. Section 13-37-127, MCA, is amended to read:
"13-37-127. Withholding of certificates of nomination or election. (1) A certificate of election
shall may not be
granted to any a candidate until he the candidate or his the candidate's political treasurer has filed the reports and statements
that must be filed pursuant to the provisions of this chapter or, if the candidate or the candidate's political treasurer is
determined by the commissioner under [section 2] to have violated the provisions of 13-35-225, until the penalty prescribed
pursuant to [section 2(6)] has been paid. No A candidate for an elective office may not assume the powers and duties of
that office until he the candidate has received a certificate of election as provided by law. A certificate of election shall
only may be issued only by the public official responsible for issuing a certificate or commission of election.
(2) In carrying out the mandate of this section, the commissioner
must shall, by written statement, notify the public
official responsible for issuing a certificate of nomination or election that a candidate or his the candidate's political
treasurer has complied with the provisions of this chapter or paid a penalty prescribed pursuant to [section 2(6)] as
described in subsection (1) and that a certificate of nomination or election may be issued."
Section 6. Section 13-37-128, MCA, is amended to read:
"13-37-128. Cause of action created. (1) A person who intentionally or negligently violates any of the reporting provisions of this chapter is liable in a civil action brought by the commissioner or a county attorney pursuant to the provisions outlined in 13-37-124 and 13-37-125 for an amount up to $500 or three times the amount of the unlawful contributions or expenditures, whichever is greater.
(2) A person who makes or receives a contribution or expenditure in violation of
13-35-225, 13-35-227, 13-35-228, or
this chapter is liable in a civil action brought by the commissioner or a county attorney pursuant to the provisions outlined
in 13-37-124 and 13-37-125 for an amount up to $500 or three times the amount of the unlawful contribution or
expenditure, whichever is greater."
NEW SECTION. Section 7. Codification instruction. [Section 2] is intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 13, chapter 37, and the provisions of Title 13, chapter 37, apply to [section 2].
NEW SECTION. Section 8. Severability. If a part of [this act] is invalid, all valid parts that are severable from the invalid part remain in effect. If a part of [this act] is invalid in one or more of its applications, the part remains in effect in all valid applications that are severable from the invalid applications.
- END -
Latest Version of HB 222 (HB0222.01)
Processed for the Web on January 7, 1999 (1:49PM)
New language in a bill appears underlined, deleted material appears stricken.
Sponsor names are handwritten on introduced bills, hence do not appear on the bill until it is reprinted. See the status of this bill for the bill's primary sponsor.
Status of this Bill| 1999 Session | Leg. Branch Home
Prepared by Montana Legislative Services