Montana Conservation Voters Action Fund fined $6,400 for campaign finance violations

INDEPENDENT RECORD

A registered political committee has been fined $6,400 for failing to timely report expenditures supporting municipal election candidates in Helena, Missoula and Billings last year.

In Helena, the Montana Conservation Voters Action Fund paid for and sent out campaign mailers supporting Mayor Wilmot Collins and city commission candidates Melinda Reed and the late Eric Feaver. All three candidates later won the election.

The organization also paid for live phone calls to voters during the 2021 campaign season in support of Feaver and Reed.

MCVAF spent nearly $9,000 in the Helena municipal elections last year, and it spent more money on similar ads and actions in the Missoula and Billings municipal elections.

In late December, Helena resident David Nielsen filed a campaign practices complaint against the organization.

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In January, Montana’s Commissioner of Political Practices Jeff Mangan found that the organization failed to timely report many of its campaign expenses as required.

MCVAF has acknowledged the commissioner’s findings and admitted to violating certain campaign finance and practices laws, according to a settlement agreement signed by Mangan and Montana Conservation Voters Executive Director Whitney Tawney in March.

In a January statement, MCVAF Political

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