Posted: Oct 31, 2012 10:45 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
Updated: Oct 31, 2012 10:55 PM
Dave Gallik, the Helena attorney accused of using taxpayer money to run his private law practice, appeared in District Court on Wednesday.
Gallik, the former state Commissioner of Political Practices (COPP), testified that accusations against him are false and this lawsuit is just a political stunt.
The Montana Policy Institute (MPI) filed the false claims case after they obtained documents which they say show Gallik had been using state resources to run his private law firm.
In order for the judge to hear the merits of the case, he must first decide if MPI had first-hand knowledge there was mishandling of taxpayer funds.
Commissioner of Political Practices investigator Julie Steab testified she provided MPI with records which show Gallik used state resources for personal gain.
"We had several concerns. One of them being that he wasn't keeping his time correctly, another that he was doing private practice work while in the Commissioner's office," Steab told the judge.
The state's attorney asked Gallik if he performed work for his private clients while working at the COPP office.
"What I did is what I told everybody that I would have to do in order to be effective in that position and also maintain my law office. And that was to coordinate my schedule to make sure that things were ready for me when I was in one office or the other office," Gallik testified.
If the judge decides to hear the full case, and finds Gallik did violate the law, he could order Gallik to pay the state monetary damages.