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Commissioner: Montana Wildlife Agency Violated Ethics Law

HELENA — Montana’s wildlife agency broke ethics laws by allowing the Montana Trappers Association to use state equipment to campaign against an anti-trapping ballot initiative in 2014, the state commissioner of political practices ruled Wednesday.

Commissioner Jonathan Motl’s ruling raised concerns about the relationship between Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the trappers association that led to the association’s use of an FWP trailer and displays of furbearing animals to political purposes.

That close relationship, without a clear policy forbidding the use of state equipment for political advocacy, makes it inevitable that public resources would be used to support the association’s political campaign, Motl wrote.

“Indeed, that is exactly what happened,” Motl wrote.

Motl fined FWP $1,500, which is $500 for each violation that the commissioner’s hearing officer found.

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Photo courtesy of G. Scully

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