Posted: Oct 29, 2012 7:59 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
HELENA- Judge Kathy Seeley in Helena says that gubernatorial candidate Rick Hill's (R) campaign is still prohibited from spending $500,000 it received from the Montana Republican Party.
Hill's campaign still needs to file paperwork with the courts before Judge Seeley can make a decision on whether or not the donation was legal.
Democrat Steve Bullock's campaign says that Hill illegally took the $500,000 from the Montana GOP when campaign contribution limits were temporarily lifted for six days in early October.
Hill's campaign claims receiving the money was entirely legal.
Bullock's campaign called nationally known Democratic strategist Raymond Strother as a witness, who said that a donation of this size, this late in the game, could cause Bullock to lose the election.
Hill's campaign manager Brock Lowrance told Judge Seeley that since she issued a restraining order on the money, their campaign bank account has been frozen, causing detrimental harm to the overall campaign.
They have pulled all advertising and stopped a statewide campaign tour just days ahead of the election.
Attorneys for both campaigns claim the law supports their arguments.
"It's not that they took the money. It's that when the limits came into effect, they were over the aggregate limits," Bullock attorney Karl Englund said.
"The acceptance of the contribution is what would trigger a violation. This does not say that they can't hold. It says they cannot accept," Hill attorney Cory Swanson countered.