The nominating committee for the Commissioner of Political Practices is reopening applications for the next Commissioner of Political Practices, the state official who oversees election and campaign finance laws. On February 1, the Montana Supreme Court declined “to change the term end date” specifically set by the Governor in appointing Jonathan Motl, the current Commissioner of Political Practices. This means that the term ended January 1, 2017, creating a vacancy.
The Commissioner of Political Practices is responsible for investigating alleged violations of the election laws and, with the county attorneys, for enforcing election and campaign practice and finance laws. The position is a Band 7 and pays annually between $74,944-$116,974. The individual who is selected will be subject to confirmation by the Senate. The Commissioner’s office is subject to a cyclical term of 6 years, which begins in a January every 6 years in odd-numbered years.
Qualifications for the position include:
(1) must be a citizen of the United States and a resident of Montana as provided in 13-1-112;
(2) on the date of appointment, must be registered to vote in Montana;
(3) in the 2 years immediately preceding the date of the appointment, may not have:
(a) served as a fundraiser for a candidate for public office;
(b) served as an officer in a political party or for a political committee; or
(c) participated in the management or conduct of a campaign by a candidate for public office;
(4) must possess the following knowledge, skills, and abilities:
(a) a confirmable track record of highly ethical professional behavior;
(b) the demonstrable ability to be firm, fair, and unbiased in carrying out professional responsibilities;
(c) the ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing;
(d) the ability to interpret statutes, legal opinions, and regulations;
(e) the ability to supervise, organize, and motivate employees; and
(f) knowledge of the standards of evidence and due process rights that are applicable to judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings.
A nomination committee composed of House Speaker Austin Knudsen, Senate President Scott Sales, House Minority Leader Jenny Eck, and Senate Minority Leader Jon Sesso will select at least two and not more than five finalists. The nomination committee will meet on February 16, 2017, at 10:00 A.M. in Room 335 of the State Capitol in Helena. The meeting is open to the public.
The names will be submitted to the Governor, who must appoint a successor within 30 days of a vacancy. A majority of the members of the nomination committee must agree on each nomination. The Governor must appoint the Commissioner from the list of nominees submitted by the nomination committee. However, if the nomination committee fails to submit names agreed to by the majority of the members, the Governor may appoint anyone who meets the qualifications.
Letters of interest will be accepted through February 14, 2017. Interested individuals should send the letters c/o Commissioner Nomination Committee, Legislative Services Division, PO Box 201706, Helena, MT 59620 or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, contact Susan Fox at the Montana Legislative Services Division, at (406) 444-3064.