9th Circuit Rules in Favor of Missoula Legislator over COPP

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court ruled on Tuesday in a split decision that found a Missoula legislator did not violate the 1st Amendment rights of a state government official by revealing information about a complaint filed with the Commissioner of Political Practices.

Missoula legislator Brad Tschida filed an ethics complaint in 2016 against Montana Governor Steve Bullock over his improper use of the state airplane to fly him and then Commerce Director Meg O’Leary to the Paul McCartney concert in Missoula.

“I talked to a group of legislators who were going to put together a special committee to take a look at some other issues regarding the governor,” said Tschida. “I told them about the ethics complaint fully believing that I had the 1st Amendment right to talk about it before we filed it. A federal District Court judge ruled that 1st Amendment rights were violated when talking about an elected official, but not for one who was appointed. We then appealed to the 9th Circuit Court on two counts. First, that they could not separate elected officials from appointed officials because they are both employees of the government, which the 9

View Source