COPP Rules Dudik Violated Campaign Law – Offers Statement
On June 12, Missoula Attorney Quentin Rhoades filed a campaign practices complaint against Democratic Attorney General candidate Kimberly Dudik.
The complaint alleged that she violated campaign finance laws by bulk emailing messages advocating for her candidacy from the University of Montana computer system to university employees.
On Tuesday, the commissioner ruled that there were sufficient facts to support a campaign finance violation.
Rhoades, reached in Billings on Tuesday morning provided details about his complaint.
“The thing that people need to remember is that you can’t send campaign literature to government employees at their workplace,” said Rhoades. “That means they can’t send it be regular mail, by email, text message or hand delivery. The chief reason being that those people are working for the government and they’re not allowed to be looking at campaign literature no matter who they’re going to vote for or not vote for.”
According to the ruling released by the Commissioner of Political Practices Jeff Mangan:
“The Commissioner hereby issues a ‘sufficient evidence’ finding and decision justifying a civil fine or civil prosecution of Kimberly Dudik. Because of the nature of the violation (the violation occurred in Missoula County) this matter is referred to the Missoula County Attorney for her consideration as to prosecution.”
Rhoades said he was more concerned in this matter due to the fact that Dudik has successfully run for office and is a practicing attorney as well as a candidate for Attorney General.
“It would seem that a seasoned veteran campaigner as she is who has run in several races and in a large district and wants to enforce the laws of the State of Montana, that person is going to be held to a pretty high standard of compliance,” he said. “If the mayor of Missoula has to comply as well as someone running in the smallest district, it seems troubling that someone running for the state’s top law enforcement officer that it would occur.”
Reached by text message, Kimberly Dudik provided the following response to the Commissioner of Political Practices decision:
“My campaign appreciated the University employee bringing this matter to our attention. As soon as we learned about the issue, we immediately addressed it, and had all university employee email addresses removed from the email list so they would not receive any additional emails. The campaign team fully strives to comply with all reporting and campaign finance requirements. If there is any issue brought to our attention we readily attempt to address it, as we did in this situation.”
The release from the commissioner stated that a civil fine is justified, but the amount has not been determined.