5-7-305. Penalties and enforcement. (1) A person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter is subject to civil penalties of not less than $250 and not more than $7,500 according to the discretion of the district court, as court of original jurisdiction. A lobbyist who violates any of the provisions of this chapter must have the lobbyist's license suspended or revoked according to the discretion of the court. Any legislator adjudged in violation of the provisions of this chapter is additionally subject to recall under the Montana Recall Act, Title 2, chapter 16, part 6, and the violation constitutes an additional basis for recall to those mentioned in 2-16-603(3).
(2) The attorney general, the commissioner, or the county attorney of the county in which the violation takes place may bring a civil action in the name of the state for any appropriate civil remedy.
(3) If a civil penalty action is undertaken by the attorney general or the commissioner, all costs associated with the prosecution must be paid by the state of Montana.
(4) (a) Any individual who has notified the attorney general, the commissioner, and the appropriate county attorney in writing that there is reason to believe that some portion of this chapter is being violated may bring in the name of the state an action (referred to as a citizen's action) authorized under this chapter if:
(i) the attorney general, the commissioner, or the appropriate county attorney has failed to commence an action within 90 days after notice; and
(ii) the attorney general, the commissioner, or the county attorney fails to commence an action within 10 days after receiving a written notice that a citizen's action will be brought if the attorney general, the commissioner, or the county attorney does not bring an action.
(b) Each notification tolls the applicable statute of limitations until the expiration of the waiting period.
(c) If the individual who brings the citizen's action prevails, the individual is entitled to be reimbursed by the state of Montana for costs and attorney fees incurred.
However, in the case of a citizen's action that is dismissed and that the court also finds was brought without reasonable cause, the court may order the individual commencing the action to pay all costs of trial and reasonable attorney fees incurred by the defendant.
(5) A civil action may not be brought under this section more than 3 years after the occurrence of the facts that give rise to the action.
(6) All civil penalties imposed pursuant to this section must be deposited in the state general fund.
(7) A hearing under this chapter must be held by the court unless the defendant-licensee demands a jury trial. The trial must be held as soon as possible but at least 20 days after the filing of the charges and must take precedence over all other matters pending before the court.
(8) If the court finds for the plaintiff, judgment must be rendered revoking or suspending the license and the clerk of court shall file a certified copy of the judgment with the commissioner.