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Political Action Committee Files Lawsuit Following Krautter Complaint


April 29, 2020 | View PDF

On April 14 political action committee (PAC), Doctors for a Healthy Montana, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Missoula against MT Attorney General Tim Fox and Commissioner of Political Practices (COPP) Jeffery Mangan. The group claims the statute cited by Rep. Joel Krautter, R-Sidney, in his complaint filed with COPP on April 7 serves no useful purpose and should be repealed. The suit asks a judge to declare the statute unconstitutional and award the PAC cost relief including the cost of litigation.

The statute, the Political Committee Naming & Labeling Act, requires the name of a political committee identify the economic interest, special interest or employer of a majority of the committee’s contributors. Krautter’s April 7 complaint alleges Doctor’s for a Healthy Montana violates this statute because only one of the four contributors is actually a doctor. The complaint asks the COPP to take appropriate action against the group for using a misleading name.

The group has purchased billboard and Facebook advertising questioning Krautter’s conservative ideology due to his vote in favor of House Bill 658, which supported Medicaid expansion. Pro-life supporters across the state feel this bill supports public funding of abortions.

Krautter submitted the following statement regarding his initial complaint:

“People should wonder why the newly formed group “Doctors for a Healthy Montana” are trying so hard to conceal from the public the majority of the group’s contributors are politicians, not doctors. If they’re willing to mislead the public about their group’s name, they’re willing to mislead the public about my pro-life voting record.

I have a 100% pro-life voting rating from the Montana Family Foundation and my vote for Medicaid reform changed nothing on abortion coverage or access. Catholic hospitals supported medicaid reform and clearly stated they would not have done so if it supported abortion. People who claim otherwise are either lying or misinformed.

It’s also important to note Montana’s leading Republican candidates for Governor, both of whom are pro-life, Tim Fox and Greg Gianforte have positions that reflect my own, that the Medicaid program needs to be maintained.

This group is distracting voters from talking about the issues people are concerned about right now, like how we can get our economy open again, supporting our businesses, agriculture and energy. I’ve been a champion for our businesses, natural resources and agriculture in Helena and am ready to get back to work.”

Krautter’s opponent the June 2 primary, Brandon Ler, declined to comment.

The complaint can be read here and the brief can be read here.


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