PSC Commissioner Brad Molnar Using Delay Tactics to Hold Off Ethics Investigation

by jhwygirl

Over at Left in the West, Jay brings us word of Art Noonan, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party, and their complaint filed May 12th against PSC commissioner Brad Molnar and his violations of state ethics law.

Here’s a link to the official complaint.

Why isn’t the Noonan/Montana Democratic Party’s complaint even listed as a formal complaint? Two other complaints, made after Noonan’s, have apparently made it to the docket.

Did I say “two other complaints”? Two other complaints against Molnar?

Just what is 4&20 fav Art Noonan and The Montana Democratic Party complaining about?

1. Use of campaign materials without the proper disclaimer.
2. Use of corporate (PPL and Northwestern Energy) sponsored campaign materials.
3. Use of materials that appear to be paid for with public sources.
4. Falsely implying support from individuals in his campaign materials

Hasn’t the state sued PPL for 40 or 50 years of using its rivers? Isn’t something like a $40,000,000 settlement being discussed? And Northwestern Energy? Don’t even get me started there…

To top it all off, even after being called on to stop using these materials by School District 2 and the Billings Chamber of Commerce, he said that he’s just too cheap to buy new pamphlets. He’ll use the brownout pamphlets until they’re gone.

“What is so wrong with dated brochures?” Molnar said. “I’m a fiscal conservative, and I just can’t throw anything away.”

Molnar apparently continues to use state funds towards his re-election: In August he sent out a fund raising letter using his Montana government email address and phone number.

The only complaint against Molnar on the Commissioner of Political Practice’s docket that has gotten a hearing date (September 4th) – the one filed in June – had to be postponed to give Molnar time to consult his attorney.

Let’s get this straight – Molnar was served with a complaint from the Commissioner of Political Practices back in June and he’s only recently retained an attorney?

This guy serves on the Public Services Commission (and 4 previous terms as a state legislator) and he doesn’t have the brains or the forethought to hire an attorney when ethics charges are filed against him? When he knows there is going to be a hearing?

Because if he does have brains, then he’s intentionally undermining the process.

So which is it?

It’s bad enough that the Commissioner of Political Practices is woefully understaffed so much so that is isn’t able to do timely investigations into election ethics violations. But to have a candidate willfully undermine the process is worse.

  1. Miss M

    My favorite quote from Molnar (and there are so many to choose from) is one that he made in his legal response to the ethics complaint. Through his attorney, Molnar says “$1,000 was not needed so it was returned [to NorthWestern Energy].”

    Oh really? The internal documents from NWE paint a different picture: first there was a phone call and then emails and then instructions from NWE to Molnar telling him to refund 2 gifts, one $1,000 gift made in 2007 and another yet-to-be-cashed check of $1,000 given in 2008, and then instructions from the NWE legal department, through Bill Thomas, for Molnar to formally write a letter advising of making a refund and then another formal letter from NWE advising of same.

    So much formality for a little “spare change” (aka profit of $1,000). Does anyone actually believe that Molnar would have parted with $2,000 had not NWE forced him return the money? The sad little thing for NWE is this: a refund, under Montana law is only a refund if it is not U S E D, and only if the refund of unused gifts are returned within 30 days of receipt. NorthWestern Energy received a refund 3 MONTHS after it was used AND Mr. Molnar’s campaign had already begun as of February 3, 2008.

    All this to say, the sad little mess is as much NorthWestern Energy’s as it is Mr. Molnar.

    Also, don’t forget PPL Montana gave Molnar another personal $1,000 for which it did not ask for, nor receive a refund. I like the photo copy of that official corporate PPL check made out personally to Brad Molnar. Priceless.

  1. 1 How Many Laws Can PSC Incumbent and Candidate Brad Molnar Break With 3 Donations? « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] These Public Service Commission races often go overlooked. Few elected offices can have such a direct impact, daily, on your life and your pocketbook than the people up in Helena who are hearing requests from utility companies for rate hikes and such. Maybe it’s time to pay attention. Brad Molnar is running for Public Service Commissioner for District 2, which is out near Billings. He is running against Ron Tussing, who has been endorsed by both the Montana Conservation Voters and The Progressive Democrats of Montana. Both Jay and I have written about Brad Molnar previously, here and here. […]

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