Trapping Group’s Actions Referred for Prosecution
The Montana Trappers Association and an affiliated ballot committee violated state law in its campaign against a proposed ballot measure that would restrict on trapping on public land, the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices has ruled. Montana law requires transparency in campaigns, including ballot issue donations and expenditures.
Commissioner Jonathan Motl, in an opinion issued this week, said the Montana Trappers Associaton and “failing to properly report or account for campaign contributions and expenditures.” State law requires that such expenditures be report.
According to the ruling and the serious “nature of the violations,” the Office of Political Practices has referred the matter for prosecution.
“Because of the nature of the violations this matter is referred to the County Attorney of Lewis and Clark County for his consideration as to prosecution. Should the County Attorney waive the right to prosecute or fail to prosecute within 30 days this Matter returns to this Commissioner for possible prosecution.”
The complaint against the trappers also included the issue of using property of the State of Montana for campaign purposes and by failing to properly report or account for campaign contributions and expenditures, which the Cowgirl Blog had reported on here. While the Commissioner’s ruling also substantiated this part of the complaint, in doing so it also noted that Montana’s current laws do not apply accountability to public contractors who use state vehicles to campaign, only public employees themselves. The Fish Wildlife and Parks certainly did not authorize the trappers to use their trailer for campaigning.
It’s also worth noting that the finding specifically states that “the failure to properly disclose and report the magnitude identified in this Matter cannot be excused by oversight or ignorance.”The Bozeman Chronicle reported on the violations here.
The type of trapping advocated by pro-trapping groups, and which I-169 would have made illegal, is a horrid practice which results in the animal’s leg being crushed and the creature left to lie in agony for days before dying. It is cruel and barbaric. And yes, such traps also frequently ensnare and torture animals such as dogs as well as endangered species such as lynx, despite the idiotic protestations we hear from those who believe the torture of animals is an enjoyable pastime. Here is a sad story from Missoula about a man’s dog. Trapping needs to be banned. It is long past time this practice was ended for good.