Sunday, July 12, 2020

GOP files ethics complaint over Cooney's campaign meeting

| May 20, 2020 12:15 PM

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Republican Party filed an ethics complaint with the Commissioner of Political Practices alleging Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney participated in a campaign strategy call in his office at the Capitol.

The GOP’s complaint, filed Tuesday, says under state law, a public officer or public employee may not use or permit the use of public time, facilities, equipment, supplies, personnel or funds to solicit support for or opposition to the nomination or election of a person to public office.

Cooney, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, has acknowledged listening to a video conference call provided by the Democratic Governor’s Association on his personal laptop in his state office on April 13.

His campaign called it an isolated incident that happened because he was on a tight schedule between meetings as Montana deals with the coronavirus.

Cooney's campaign said he did not raise money or otherwise campaign during the call, which included his opponent Whitney Williams.

Fundraising figures released on Wednesday showed Williams with $300,000 in cash on hand as of May 14, versus $200,000 for Cooney.

To date, Williams has raised about $1 million while Cooney has raised about $890,000, according to figures from the campaigns.