State rejects ethics complaint against city of Missoula

Missoula City Councilmembers Sandra Vasecka and Daniel Carlino allege the city and county used taxpayer dollars to fund a mailer improperly supporting the crisis services levy on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The duo brought their complaint to the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices. It claims city and county officials used taxpayer dollars to fund a mailer with language “blatantly in support of the levy.”

But Commissioner of Political Practices Jeff Mangan said the complaints fall under the county attorney’s jurisdiction, not the Commissioner of Political Practices.

Vasecka and Carlino took specific issue with the sentence, “This November, voters will decide whether to fund a crisis services levy that would keep these crucial, life-saving programs moving forward.”

The complaint states this language “impl(ies) that the voter would be risking lives if they voted in opposition, and thus, the mailer is obviously in support of the levy.”

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Vasecka said a constituent who opposed the levy brought the mailer to her attention because they were frustrated that taxpayer money was being used to support the measure. 

“The wording on the ballot, I believed and Daniel Carlino believed it was obviously in support of the levy,” Vasecka said.

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