The billboard purchased by Doctors for a Healthy Montana still sits just outside the town of Sidney, educating voters about Joel Krautter’s support for taxpayer-funded abortion. It was one of several campaigns intervened upon by the group headed up by Rep. Matt Regier and Dr. Annie Bukacek. Richland County voters chose not to vote for Joel Krautter, who was unseated in HD35 by newcomer, Brandon Ler. In retaliation for the billboard, Krautter made a complaint with the Commissioner of Political Practices (CoPP), a board used by Steve Bullock to harass Republican legislators. Now that the dust has settled, the courts have ruled against the CoPP for harassment of the pro-life group and infringement of their First Amendment rights.
Krautter’s complaint was regarding the group’s name, which at the time of its initial founding had only one doctor on the board. The name Doctors, Krautter alleged, was misleading. Krautter – who maintained an F-rating in conservative loyalty from Legistats, an independent loyalty scoring organization headed up by former state senator, Ed Butcher – had previously applied to run the CoPP for Steve Bullock before running for representative on the Republican ticket in Richland County. The system, it seemed was rigged by Democrats on behalf of a fake Republican candidate to attack pro-life activists.
When the CoPP makes in an improper judgment against someone, however, they are sometimes rightly forced to pay their legal fees. In this case, the CoPP had to pay Matthew Monforton, who represented Doctors for a Health Montana.
Posting a photo of the check, Monforton said on his Facebook page, “Always cool to get paid – but it’s especially cool when Helena’s corrupt left-wing establishment writes the check. That was the result of another RINO-inspired complaint filed with the Commissioner of Political Practices (COPP).”
Monforton went on, “That was the result of another RINO-inspired complaint filed with the Commissioner of Political Practices (COPP). This latest one was filed by Rep. Joel Krautter against Doctors for a Healthy Montana, a pro-life pac run by Annie Bukacek and soon-to-be-Speaker Matt Regier.”
He explained, “Rather than defend his record, Krautter responded by filing a COPP complaint against Doctors For A Healthy MT. The Commissioner then promptly demanded a response from us. We then promptly sued his ass in U.S. District Court for a First Amendment violation. Because we won the case, (see bit.ly/3ncn2U3), and because it was a civil rights case, Montana taxpayers get to pay the government’s attorneys fees as well as ours (hence the check attached to this post).”
Then, Monforton gave a suggestion, “Replacing the Commissioner of Political Practices (or, better yet, dismantling his office) is yet another reason to vote for Greg Gianforte in a few weeks.”
The Montana Daily Gazette reached out to Monforton for comment, and he told us, “You’re not a true Montana Conservative until you’ve been falsely prosecuted by the CoPP.”
[Correction: Monforton explained that the taxpayers have actually had to pay him $20,050 in total. Tim Fox’s office had to pay the other half of the bill. Thanks, Joel Kratuter.]