Commissioner Motl: A Dilemma

If you frequent the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices website very often like I do, you probably noticed that the new guy, Jonathan Motl, posted a sweet 525-word memo about his new job saying, “I love my job, it is the best job I have ever had.”

The first thing I thought after reading his memo was that he probably hasn’t had too many interesting jobs in his life and that he should probably get out of Helena more. That was right after I thought he should have spell-checked the memo. But nevertheless, Motl loves (or loved) his job as of June 24, 2013, and that is good news for Montanans in general and maybe for Democrats in particular.

Now Commissioner Motl is faced with a dilemma. Readers may remember that back on May 20, 2013, Lee Newspapers published a story about Motl which I linked to here at The Western Word. Lee Newspapers reported:

Motl has donated $6,800 to Montana political campaigns since 1992, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics. Discounting contributions to ballot issue campaigns and nonpartisan judicial races, Motl has given slightly more than $5,000 in partisan statewide and legislative races, all to Democrats. That includes $790 to Bullock in his races for attorney general and governor.

Just recently someone named James Pennington of Billings filed a 277-page complaint against Governor Steve Bullock alleging violations of campaign finance and practices laws. The complaint is basically about the age-old practice of candidates coordinating with third-party groups, which they are not supposed to do. Lee Newspapers has the story HERE.

So now all eyes are on Jonathan Motl. This state-run office has a perception problem. Here’s a bit of advice: Motl should recuse himself from investigating the complaint against Steve Bullock whom he supported financially. By the way, Bullock selected Motl for the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices job. Is that a sweet deal or what?

Motl should at least bring in an independent investigator (someone who has not donated to Bullock would be a great start) to handle this complaint and do that for any other complaints in the future concerning Bullock.

It’s all about perception, Commissioner Motl. Perception.

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