Election Official Violates Election Ethics Rules

Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton Unethical

February 18, 2019

Last week it was reported that Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton was was fined $4,000 for ethics violations related to his gubernatorial campaign announcement. This was in response to complaint filed by the Montana Democratic Party shortly after the announcement.

I have to agree with much of what the Billings Gazette had to say in an opinion piece published shortly after the complaint was filed.

Secretary Stapleton has run for office multiple times before. He's won some and lost some. And he currently is the State's highest election official. As such he has absolutely no excuse for not knowing the rules, and absolutely no excuse for not obeying the rules. But Secretary Stapleton is not one for letting the rules or ethics get in his way. For years now, Secretary Stapleton has stood behind a Secretary of State policy to discriminate against business owners and potential business owners based on their religious beliefs, and to attempt to disenfranchise business owners and potential business owners for a number of other reasons. And he stripped down the Secretary of State's office to the point that the office can't even provide the most basic of services - responding to constituent correspondence in a timely fasion.

Corey Stapleton has no business in any elected position. As Montana's chief election officer, he used his position as the chief election officer to announce he was running for another position, and then argued there was nothing wrong with that. And his staff members who sent the actual emails, and put their contact information on the announcements should also be removed from office. Part of their position is to know these rules - one of them should have pointed out the issue to Secretary Stapleton and stopped him. But then, one of those staff members probably also needs to point out the issue with a State department actively discriminating against people based on their religious beliefs...