Montana’s Commissioner of Political Practices said Thursday that his office has worked out the kinks in the electronic reporting of state candidate and committee finance reporting. “The COPP’s new electronic campaign finance reporting system for candidates for public office in Montana worked. The new system was launched, literally, the day before 2014 primary election reporting was due and it had some glitches,” Commissioner Jonathan Motl wrote on the office’s website. The commissioner said all that’s left is to get candidates to use the electronic system. About 103 of the 319 primary election legislative candidates used electronic reporting. Motl said his office will contact the remaining 236 general election legislative candidates to encourage them to use the new system.
This is good news for the public, reporters and transparency groups like the National Institute of Money in State Politics, based in Helena.
“Campaign finance disclosure is moving into the digital age, and Montana’s new electronic reporting system is a great step in this direction,” the institute’s research director, Pete Quist, wrote in an email to the Chronicle.
“As more candidates report electronically rather than on paper forms, the media and public will have the new ability to analyze political contributions on the state’s website. … This is especially important now; national and out-of-state interests are rapidly focusing in on state level politics around the country, including right here in Montana.”