Grading State Disclosure 2003 Logo Graphic

M o n t a n a


golden bar divider

Campaign Disclosure Law
Electronic Filing Program
Disclosure Content Accessibility
Online Contextual & Technical Usability

Grading Process green cube Subcategory Weighting green cube Methodology green cube Glossary

golden bar divider

The State of Disclosure in Montana

Despite having one of the strongest campaign finance disclosure laws in the country, Montana's campaign finance disclosure program received a failing grade, in large part because it is one of only three states in the nation that does not provide any campaign finance data on its web site. The only way for the public to access campaign finance data is to obtain it from the state agency either in person or by ordering reports over the phone. The state has significant weaknesses in Electronic Filing, Disclosure Content Accessibility and web site usability.

Montana law requires candidates to file twice in non-election years and four times before an election. Contributor information, including occupation and employer, must be disclosed for contributions of $35 or more. Last-minute contributions of $200 or more must be disclosed within 24 hours for statewide candidates ($100 and 48 hours for other candidates). Details, including subvendor information, must be reported for all expenditures. Independent expenditures, but not last-minute expenditures, must be reported before the election. Montana has no electronic filing program for statewide or legislative candidates.

Despite the lack of campaign finance data, there is some good contextual information on Montana's web site. There is a good explanation of campaign finance restrictions and the text of the law is nicely indexed and linked from the site. In addition, the site does make it clear that there is no campaign finance data available on the site. The site would be better if it provided lists of total amounts raised and spent by state candidates and a list of candidates for current or upcoming elections. The use of a subject index on the state homepage, with a listing specifically for “campaign finance”, makes it very easy for the public to locate the disclosure agency's web site. The search feature on the Montana state web site also works very well. The state did poorly in usability testing primarily because no data is available on its web site.

Disclosure Agency: Commissioner of Political Practices
Disclosure Web Site:

Back to the Grading State Disclosure home page

View another state's summary:


This page was first published on September 17, 2003
| Last updated on September 17, 2003
copyright ©
Campaign Disclosure Project. All rights reserved.