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Oct 26, 2012 9:58 AM by Jay Kohn - Q2 News

Billings Senator calls for impartial judges

BILLINGS - More fallout Thursday over the legal battle brewing over the half million dollar donation to Governor candidate Rick Hill by the state Republican party.

Billings state senator Jeff Essman, the Senate majority leader, claims the district judge who ordered Hill's campaign *not to spend the money and to pull the TV ads purchased with those dollars, is politically motivated.

Essmann points to campaign finance records that indicate both District Judge Kathy Seeley and federal judge Dana Christensen have donated to Democratic candidates.

Essmann believes both judges should recuse themselves from hearing the case.

"I think it's important that judges avoid even the appearance of impropriety," said Essmann. "When they have had a past practice of donating predominantly or exclusively to one party, they should not be hearing a politically charged case, as in this case," Essmann explained.

Essmann points to campaign finance records that indicate in the past 20 years, Judge Seeley has donated to Democrats, and never to republican candidates.

Meanwhile, Christensen, a former delegate to the Democratic National Convention, has donated over $11,000 to Democratic candidates.

Montanans of all political stripes, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian and independent, want and deserve judges who are not tied to the parties to a case or to a particular political party," Essmann said.

"We need an impartial Judiciary and we need it starting right now," said Essmann.

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