Make no mistake: this wasn't merely a rejection of former Commissioner of Political Practices Jon Motl, this was a rejection of Gov. Steve Bullock by the normally very liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

As the AP reports:

The law was challenged by state Republican Rep. Brad Tschida of Missoula, who filed a complaint in 2016 about Gov. Steve Bullock's use of a state plane to take himself and then-Commerce Director Meg O'Leary to a Paul McCartney concert in Missoula in 2014.

Basically, former CoPP Motl tried to go after a Montana lawmaker for divulging an ethics complaint against Gov. Bullock, and the 9th Circuit ruled against Motl (Bullock's appointee).

Peter Christian had this response from State Rep. Brad Tschida (R-Missoula) for KGVO Radio:

I talked to a group of legislators who were going to put together a special committee to take a look at some other issues regarding the governor. I told them about the ethics complaint fully believing that I had the 1stAmendment right to talk about it before we filed it. A federal District Court judge ruled that 1st Amendment rights were violated when talking about an elected official, but not for one who was appointed. We then appealed to the 9thCircuit Court on two counts. First, that they could not separate elected officials from appointed officials because they are both employees of the government, which the 9th circuit agreed with.

 

Along the same lines, but on another front- Bullock took another ethics hit in the midst of his presidential campaign. The Senate Leadership Fund unveiled this new ad highlighting Bullock's questionable travel and use of taxpayer funds on the campaign trail: