Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, and a Republican state senator joined forces Thursday behind a bill they said will force backers of anonymous political attacks in Montana to disclose their donors. “It is one thing to lie and distort the records of positions of those seeking office,” Bullock said at a Capitol news conference. “It takes it to a whole different level when those trying to corrupt our elections aren’t even courageous enough to stand behind their statements by disclosing who is writing the check.” Bullock said he is supporting a bill sponsored by Sen. Jim Peterson, R-Buffalo, that, among other things, will require groups funding such attacks to report their donors.
The bill, not yet introduced, is a sweeping reform of state campaign-finance laws, aimed at forcing more disclosure on campaign spending, reducing the influence of outside groups and directing more campaign contributions to candidates.
Peterson, who appeared at the news conference alongside Bullock, said Montanans are tired of “dirty politics, mud-slinging and personal attacks.”
“I think they’re even more disgusted that many of these tactics are hidden inside dark-money organizations and are unaccountable to the general public,” he said. “Our democracy operates best when it operates in the full light of day.”
Peterson and Bullock’s office have been talking for several weeks about the measure, which could be the session’s major bill addressing campaign-finance issues.