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Commissioner dismisses dark-money complaint against Great Falls senator

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HELENA, Montana — The commissioner of political practices has dismissed a complaint accusing a Republican senator from Great Falls of coordinating his 2010 campaign with a secretive conservative group.

Commissioner Jonathan Motl writes in his decision issued Tuesday that there is insufficient evidence to find Sen. Ed Buttrey illegally coordinated with Western Tradition Partnership.

Motl says Buttrey and Western Tradition Partnership had an arms-length client-vendor relationship for printing services. Motl says that is a different relationship from the nine other 2010 candidates that Motl determined illegally coordinated with the group.

Motl filed civil actions against those nine candidates, including Senate Majority Leader Art Wittich of Bozeman and Rep. Mike Miller of Helmville.

Buttrey defeated Democrat Kathy Galvin-Halcro in the 2010 general election. The complaint was filed this February by David Ponte of Bozeman.

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