As the campaign finance violation case against TEA Part legislator Art Wittich moves forward, it appears that Wittich and fellow Republicans are doing everything they can to gut the resources of the Commissioner of Political Practices.
Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl had asked the legislature for the resources necessary to do the job he is charged by law with doing. But during Monday’s debate of the state budget by the full house of representatives, Wittich, and fellow Republicans, voted twice against restoring proper funding to the COPP and instead insisted in keeping the cuts made by the budget subcommittee. You can see the votes here:
Wittich faces removal from office after documents found in a meth house showed what Motl ruled was illegal coordination with corporations through American Tradition Partnership.
Wittich got caught up in the infamous Meth House Scandal, in which documents belonging to the infamous American Tradition Partnership (ATP), were found in a Colorado meth house and incriminated numerous Montana Republican officeholders and candidates. ATP is (was) a shady corporate funnel group whose headquarters was discovered to be nothing more than a P.O. Box. In conjunction with that investigation, Wittich was accused of taking illegal corporate contributions from ATP. It is estimated that they sent millions of dollars to Montana to help GOP candidates, and a few of these candidates have been accused of coordinating illegally with the group. Jonathan Motl, the Commissioner of Political Practices, is taking several of them to court to seek their removal from office, which according to Montana statutes is the exclusive penalty for such behavior. Wittich, naturally, has accused Motl of “conducting a witch hunt.”
Wittich lost the first round of his legal effort to stop the Commissioner of Political Practices from throwing him out of office. A district judge in Helena, Judge Sherlock, issued a decision which he mocked Wittich’s motion to dismiss the case. Lewis and Clark County District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock will hold a five-day jury trial Feb. 22, 2016, in the political practice case against Wittich, who is charged with violating the state’s political campaign laws during the 2010 primary election.