Major Funder Of Montana Marijuana Legalization Initiative Could Be Prosecuted For Campaign Finance Violations

MJ moment

An organization that contributed millions of dollars to the campaign behind Montana’s successful marijuana legalization ballot initiative is facing potential prosecution following an investigation into its refusal to reveal the names of its own donors. North Fund, which registered as an incidental political committee in the state, put $4,709,520 toward the reform measure. But an anti-legalization activist filed a complaint prior to the November vote alleging that the group is actually an independent committee that is required to disclose information about where its funds come from. At issue is whether the group exists mainly to influence elections. An independent committee is defined as having “the primary purpose of supporting or opposing candidates or ballot issues but is neither a ballot issue nor a political party political committee.” Meanwhile, an incidental political committee is one “that does not have the primary purpose of supporting or opposing candidates or ballot issues.” The Montana Commissioner of Political Practices (COPP) filed a formal referral for prosecution against the group on Monday. COPP claims that North Fund is improperly registered based on the extent to which its funds have been used for political purposes, and they want the Lewis and Clark County attorney to consider bringing a case against the group. In its new filing, COPP said that “sufficient evidence of a campaign practice violation exists,” necessitating the disclosure of contributions, registering as an independent committee and a possible fine. It also asserts that the failure to disclose sources of funding “cannot generally be excused by oversight or ignorance.” “Because there is a finding of violation and a determination that de minimis and excusable neglect theories are not applicable to the above Sufficiency Findings, a civil fine is justified,” COPP said. “Because of the nature of the violation, this matter is referred to the County…

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Source : Major Funder Of Montana Marijuana Legalization Initiative Could Be Prosecuted For Campaign Finance Violations

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