Montana Gun Group Demands Answers For Commissioner’s Mistakes

Jonathan Motl's Mistakes Used To Justify Derogatory Decision.

Jonathan Motl, Montana's Commissioner of Political Practices
Jonathan Motl, Montana's Commissioner of Political Practices
Montana Shooting Sports Association
Montana Shooting Sports Association

MISSOULA –-( Montana's primer advocate for gun owners has demanded answers to critical questions from the political appointee currently enforcing campaign laws in Montana.

Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) sent a letter : Friday to Jonathan Motl, the controversial Commissioner of Political Practices (COPP), asking how the Commissioner could justify using wrong facts in a Decision derogatory to Montana Shooting Sports Association ( MSSA ).

Marbut says that Motl's handling of a Complaint about MSSA showed bias and impropriety from the beginning because Motl chose to not publish Marbut's April 14th Response to the Complaint in the public space of the COPP Website, although Motl did choose to publish both the Complaint and his Decision there.

“This one-sided use of public funds makes the Commissioner's effort look like a dedicated attempt to smear MSSA and me,” Marbut said. About Motl's publication of the Complaint but non-publication of Marbut's Response, Marbut's letter asks, “Am I being treated fairly?”

In his August 16th 2016 Decision,
Motl claims that Marbut and/or MSSA violated public disclosure law when a submitted form failed to include a list of candidates MSSA would support in the 2014 Primary Election.

However, the Decision also admits that the required list was indeed submitted. (Finding of Fact No 14:) “The Commissioner determines that the disclosure set out in FOF No. 14 meets the requirements of Montana law.” (Decision, Page 8)

The problem, it seems, is that COPP attached the MSSA-provided list to the wrong COPP form when two forms and the list arrived in the same envelope at the COPP office. This error by COPP, Motl claims, proves that MSSA broke the law.

In his August 25th 2016 letter to Motl, Marbut asks if it wasn't actually COPP that “fell short of its responsibility to keep the public informed by failing to attach the provided list of candidates to the correct COPP form.”

Motl's Decision also faults Montana Shooting Sports Association for not providing quarterly Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports to COPP. Motl's Decision states, “… MSSA filed no copies of its federal PAC (Political Action Committee, GM) reports with COPP.” (Decision, Page 4) Rebutting this factually incorrect claim by COPP, Marbut offers evidence in his letter to Motl that he sent 37 quarterly FEC reports (also publicly available from the FEC Website), not just the four reports Motl wanted, to COPP by email when asked for them by COPP. Marbut also offers to send Motl a copy of the email in which COPP acknowledged receipt of this decade of FEC reports.

In the section of Marbut's letter addressing this SNAFU by COPP, Marbut asks, “Does this flaw cause COPP to have failed in its due diligence to have properly investigated this matter before issuing its derogatory Decision?”

In his letter, Marbut asks several other relevant questions about Motl's conduct, rationale, and conclusions in this matter.

Commissioner Motl has shown a history of feeding his side of a case to the media, while those subject to his enforcement action suffer bad publicity in legally advisable silence. In order to correct this unfair advantage wielded by Motl, Marbut has chosen to go public with his Response to the original Complaint (previously hidden from public view by Motl) and with his related questions for Motl about the recent Decision.

Marbut says, “With fair, open, and equal public disclosure of the false facts used by Motl to justify his Decision in this case, and exposure of a biased process, let the public examine those facts and make up their own minds.”

Marbut concluded, “The power inherent in government offices must not be used in attempt to punish or silence political opposition. The people will not allow that to become standard practice to be used by whatever clique is currently in power.”

Information: Gary Marbut, 549-1252 or gary(AT)marbut(DOT)com

  • Original Complaint:
  • Response to Complaint:
  • COPP Decision:
  • Letter of questions about Decision:

About Montana Shooting Sports Association: MSSA is the primary political advocate for Montana gun owners. Visit:

  • 8 thoughts on “Montana Gun Group Demands Answers For Commissioner’s Mistakes

    1. Montana has an aura of hard scrabble individualists and hunters, e.g., Teddy Roosevelt. Over the years, due to bureaucratic takeovers of public education, the judiciary and often the legislature, Montana voters have allowed democrat hacks like Motl to accede to positions of authority. The outcome should have become predictable but I’ve been surprised that it slipped so far, so fast.

    2. Get out and Vote, for too long we as citizens have let public officials crap on us. Challenge them both in meetings, on their websites, in town hall meetings and via emails to their office. Write to you newspapers, contact your neighbors and challenge them or you will end up like California where I live.
      Now is the time, and hopefully it is not too late to reclaim our government!

    3. @Vanns, the article says that Motl is an appointee. He sits at someone’s pleasure. That someone can fire him. And if Motl has been controversial in the past, then maybe that someone is ready to get rid of Motl and the embarrassments that Motl causes.

      1. Nice idea but if the person at whose pleasure Motl sits is a Progressive – i.e. gun grabber – then the point is utterly moot. Given the political leanings of much of the judiciary these days, I very much misdoubt that such a suit as Vanns40 proposes is likely to be heard, either.

      2. unless said patron LIKES what this Motl Monster is doing……. which seems somewhere from possible to likely.

    4. I’d say Gary has made a pretty good case for malfeasance in office. I don’t know what, if any, recourse there is for removing such an official but this might be a good time to research it given that this person appears to have a history of such actions.

    5. MSSA has identified one of the nameless, faceless, bureaucrats that secretly do all that they can to harm our Second Amendment Civil Rights. That is a rare occurrence. If MSSA calls for Jonathan Motl’s, the controversial Commissioner of Political Practices (COPP) resignation, I intend to help MSAA all that I can. There should be no covert anti-firearms civil rights bureaucrats in Montana.

    6. When public officials don’t do what is right or follow the laws, while using their position and other laws to shield themselves, then the only proper response is outside the law.

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