Matt Rosendale Blasted for Dropping Charges Against Top Campaign Donors

Billings – Yesterday, the Montana Free Press reported that East Coast developer Matt Rosendale dropped fines and charges against his some of the top donors to his campaign for state auditor.

Just eight days after taking office as state auditor, Rosendale met with representatives from a company whose owners and employees had given his campaigns nearly $13,000 using a shady campaign finance loophole to discuss long-standing charges filed against the company by the previous state auditor.

Rosendale ultimately decided to drop the fines, dismiss most of the charges, and end the long-standing legal action against the company.

You can read more of the coverage below:

Montana Free Press: “Family members and employees of a Billings-based bail bond company facing fines and sanctions by the Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance gave nearly $13,000 to Republican State Auditor Matt Rosendale’s political campaigns in 2016. One day after a 2017 face-to-face meeting with company representatives, Rosendale dropped the fines and dismissed two of the three allegations against Friedell [sic] LLC. The company paid no penalty under the terms of the agreement.”

Associated Press: “Montana’s Republican U.S. Senate candidate used $10,000 in donations earmarked for past campaign debt to instead boost his 2016 campaign for state auditor, then dropped the penalties that the donors’ company was facing after he took office, according to agency and campaign records.”

“‘You have a number of individuals who are facing sanctions by his office contributing potentially excessive amounts to his campaign and then receiving favorable treatment once in office,’ [Brendan Fischer, an attorney for a campaign finance watchdog group] said. ‘It’s hard to say that the laws were violated here, but it certainly creates a disturbing appearance.’”

Montana Public Radio: “Whether Hansen knew or didn’t know about the contributions is less important than the fact that Rosendale set up the meeting with a major campaign contributor just days after taking office, said Bob Stern, a longtime government ethics watchdog.”

Missoula Current: “According to campaign finance records, Mykel, Leslie, and Douglas Friedel contributed $2,970 to Rosendale’s state auditor campaign in the summer of 2016. None had contributed to Rosendale before, nor had they contributed to any other Montana candidate for statewide office. Each gave the maximum amount allowed by law.”

The Hill: “The Rosendale campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

Rosendale declined to comment despite repeated requests, according to the Montana Free Press.”

The Montana Post: “Rosendale has personally authorized settling a claim against a business whose principals donated heavily to his campaign for Auditor and, through his money laundering scheme involving his old race for the U.S. House, to his Senate campaign.”