Nov 1, 2012 8:27 AM by MTN News
HELENA - A Helena judge has issued an injunction that stops Republican governor candidate Rick Hill from spending a $500,000 campaign contribution he received earlier this month.
In a ruling issued today, District Court Judge Kathy Seeley denied a motion by Hill to dismiss the case. Seeley states that Montana's long-standing contribution limits apply to all contributions during the current election cycle.
Seeley said the sudden and extraordinary influx of cash to Hill's campaign was more than twenty times above the permitted amount under state law.
Such a contribution, Seeley wrote, "would likely affect the outcome of the election".
Seeley's ruling stops the Hill campaign or its agents from spending any of the $500,000 it received the Montana Republican Party. It also requires Hill's campaign to stop any agents, including media buyers who have received these funds, to purchase any media time with these funds or otherwise benefit the Hill campaign through use of the funds.
"In so far as advertisements have been purchased with these funds and are set to air imminently, they must be cancelled," the ruling states.
Democratic governor candidate Steve Bullock sought the injunction against Hill, after learning about the GOP donation.
Hills campaign argued that the donation was legal since it was received after a federal judge tossed out Montana's campaign contribution limits.
Just six days later, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the judge's ruling and put Montana's campaign limits back in place for the remainder of the 2012 election cycle.
The Rick Hill Campaign released the following comment.
"We are absolutely confident the contribution we received was legal. We disagree with the judge's ruling and we are confident when there is a opportunity to try this on the facts, we will be proven right. We are moving forward and funding this campaign with funds that are undisputed and that meet the judge's requirements.
Over the past week our campaign has received overwhelming support coming from Montanans who are outraged at the acts of desperation coming from Steve Bullock's campaign. People are donating their time, money, and effort to keep our campaign running strong. Over the next few days Rick will be traveling the state, talking about his solutions to grow our economy and provide permanent property tax relief for all Montanans.
This race is not about money. It's about the people of Montana, about their future, and about our state's future. Rick is going to continue to stay focused on the issues that matter to Montanans, that's what this race is about."
- Brock Lowrance, spokesman, Rick Hill for Governor