Posted: Oct 19, 2012 8:27 PM by Dennis Carlson - MTN NEWS
Updated: Oct 19, 2012 8:34 PM
A half-million dollar campaign contribution for Rick Hill sparks more legal action.
Earlier this month the Rick Hill for Governor Campaign received a $500,000 contribution when, due to pending legal action, campaign spending limits were in limbo.
On Wednesday the Steve Bullock for Governor Campaign filed a complaint with the Montana Commission of Political Practices Office, claiming the contribution was illegal.
Yesterday the Bullock Campaign filed a lawsuit against Hill in district court.
Today, the Hill Campaign fired back by filing a lengthy motion to move the issue to federal court.
Friday Hill's campaign said its motion was in response to the Bullock campaign's actions.
By filing the 101 page motion of removal, the state court has been divested of jurisdiction of the case. The state court proceeding by law cannot move forward while the federal case is proceeding.
Brock Lowrance from the Hill Campaign issued the following statement: "This issue belongs in federal court, because it comes from a federal judge's decision on which both Democrats and Republicans relied. In addition to our campaign, candidates from both parties relied on the federal judge's decision. Federal court is the proper place for this case, and that is why we sent it there. A state Attorney General ought to know better than to file a state lawsuit to try to evade an ongoing federal case. Moving forward Rick will continue to focus on the issues that matter to Montanans, and Steve Bullock can continue to campaign in the courtroom."
Meantime the Bullock Campaign maintains the contribution, which according to the Hill Campaign has already been spent, is illegal.
This comment today from Kevin O'Brien from the Bullock campaign; "It's clear that even Congressman Hill knows this $500,000 contribution was illegal - because if he did, he would be proud to defend his actions to a Montana judge, instead of running to a federal court. The highest elected Republican in Montana called on Hill to give it back. Even, the chief lawyer trying to dismantle our laws says that our limits are still in effect."
"We're confident that this matter of state law will be returned to state court and the Congressman will have to return the entirety of this illegal contribution."
No word yet on when the matter will be heard.