Ethics Watchdog Calls for Further Investigation into Lt. Governor Mike Cooney of Montana
Evidence Shows the Lt. Gov. clearly violated the law for using state resources to gain political advantage.
Washington, D.C.—May 21, 2020— The non-partisan ethics watchdog, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), today, filed a complaint with Montana’s Commissioner of Political Practices against Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney for using state resources for political purposes in violation of the law.
According to FACT, on April 13, 2020, Mike Cooney, a state official who's currently running for Governor, conducted a political conference call from his Capitol office. Cooney spent approximately 30 minutes “discussing campaign strategy” with a national political organization.
Further evidence indicates Cooney scheduled the call to take place while he was in his state office.
“Under the Montana code of ethics, a public employee or officer may not engage in political activities while using ‘public time, facilities, equipment, supplies, personnel, or funds.’ The law is clear, a state official cannot participate in any activity from a state office to support a political candidate or campaign, and there are no exceptions,” the filing stated.
“The law is clear and so is the evidence in this case. This type of violation must be penalized not only to hold public officials responsible for the abuse of taxpayer funds, but to maintain citizens’ trust in government. In this case it appears Lt. Gov. Cooney made a clear choice to engage in political activity from the Capitol, which also requires remedial action to prevent this type of abuse in the future,” said Kendra Arnold, the Executive Director of FACT.
A full copy of the complaint can be found here.
FACT is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas. For more on FACT, visit: www.factdc.org