Montana's commissioner of political practices found that Helena Public Schools board of trustees member Terry Beaver filed his statement of candidate more than two weeks late in the May 4 election.
Following an investigation, Commissioner of Political Practices Jeff Mangan determined that Beaver filed his declaration of intent and oath of candidacy with the Lewis and Clark County Elections Department on March 12 and was required to file a statement of candidate with the COPP on or before March 17. He did not file the statement of candidate until April 1.
According to Mangan's report, "Failure to fully and timely report and disclose cannot generally be excused by oversight or ignorance." The Lewis and Clark County Attorney's Office has declined to prosecute the case, and the commissioner's office expects to negotiate a fine, which is how most campaign violations are resolved.
Beaver acknowledged the violation and said he did not realize there was a time limit to file the statement of candidate. He said he plans to pay the fine out of pocket.
"I've never accepted a penny from anyone nor spent any of my own money on an election," he said.
This violation was found after a complaint against Beaver was filed by Darryl Rutherford of Helena.
In his initial complaint, Rutherford also alleged that Beaver violated several other campaign finance and practices laws in election years 2003, 2006, 2012 and 2015. All other allegations against Beaver were found to be frivolous and were dismissed by the commissioner.
Rutherford said he has not had time to review the commissioner's report but noted he was satisfied with some of the findings and less satisfied with others.
Beaver was elected to the school board for a seventh term in May. He received approximately 29% of the vote and was one of two candidates to receive over 6,000 votes.