Judge rejects Senate leader's conspiracy claims


Last updated 8/27/2014 at 8:41pm

HELENA (AP) — A Helena judge has dismissed claims by the Montana Senate majority leader that the governor, a state senator and two commissioners of political practices conspired to drive him out of office.

Sen. Art Wittich, R-Bozeman, made the claims while defending himself against a civil lawsuit by Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl alleging Wittich violated campaign laws by coordinating with and taking illegal corporate contributions from the secretive conservative group Western Tradition Partnership.

Wittich could be removed from office if District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock upholds Motl's findings.

Wittich filed counterclaims against Motl in May accusing the commissioner of having an ulterior motive for forcing Wittich out of the Legislature. He also accused Motl, Gov. Steve Bullock, state Sen. Bruce Tutvedt, R-Kalispell, and former political practices commissioner Jim Murry of conspiring to do just that.

Details in Thursday's Havre Daily News.


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