Posted: Oct 31, 2012 3:56 PM by MTN News
Updated: Oct 31, 2012 3:58 PM
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 20 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.
Hill's 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.