WASHINGTON, D.C. – RGA Right Direction PAC, an organization supported by the Republican Governors Association (RGA), today released a new television ad in the Montana governor’s race on Democratic nominee Lt. Governor Mike Cooney breaking state ethics laws by using his taxpayer-funded office to help his campaign.
The ad, titled “Busy,” highlights Cooney’s use of his office for personal political gain when working Montana families and small businesses were struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting job losses.
After Cooney admitted in May to using official government facilities to participate in a campaign strategy session with the Democratic Governors Association, multiple ethics complaints were filed against him with the Montana Office of the Commissioner of Political Practices. On Wednesday, the Commissioner handed down a decision finding Cooney in violation of Montana’s Code of Ethics and imposed the maximum fine, writing:
Mr. Cooney improperly used State facilities, specifically the Lieutenant Governor’s Capitol office, to participate in a political Democratic Governors Association conference call in support of his candidacy for public office in violation of Mont. Code. Ann. § 2-2-121(3)(a).
Cooney’s campaign attempted to use the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse for violating the public trust, and erroneously referred to the violation as an “isolated incident.” However, Cooney was caught storing donor information and other campaign materials on his state-owned computer when he was Secretary of State, and was accused of illegally using government equipment for his political campaigns.
The ad will run on statewide broadcast as an addition to the RGA Right Direction PAC’s existing statewide television campaign.
Script for “Busy”:
When Montanans were struggling, political insider Mike Cooney didn’t answer the call.
That’s because Mike Cooney was on the phone with Party bosses in Washington talking about his campaign.
Caught using his office for pure political gain, Cooney violated state ethics laws and got the maximum fine for it.
Political insider Mike Cooney – when Montanans called Cooney was busy working for himself.
RGA Right Direction PAC is responsible for the content of this advertising.