Mayor John Engen Likely to Face Fine After Campaign Cited for ‘Failure to fully and timely report’
Montana Political Practices commissioner Jeff Mangan has ruled against Missoula Mayor John Engen in a recent decision that Mangan says will likely end with the payment of a fine. One of the major findings deals with expenditures to Brock Consulting, LLC, for what the Engen Campaign called “Campaign Services” a definition that the Commissioner described as generic.
“These generic expenditure listings do not meet Montana’s statutory requirement regarding detail of campaign finance reports,” Mangan wrote in his decision, going on to say that “The failure to fully and timely report and disclose cannot generally be excused by oversight or ignorance.”
Missoula Attorney Quentin Rhoades, who submitted the complaint, says he’s not surprised at the decision, but says he is troubled by the lack of transparency.
“This isn’t just some rookie mistake,” Rhoades said. “He’s a highly experienced professional politician, who has been in how many campaigns now? He raised about $100,000 for his campaign, which is the most expensive mayoral race in Montana history, if I’m not mistaken, and he failed to legally report $15,000 about 16 percent of the total that he spent?!”
Campaign transparency was a major issue in the race between Mayor John Engen and challenger Lisa Triepke after Mangan ruled against Triepke in a decision released during the heart of the campaign. The decision against Engen covers much of the same ground, but came out more than a week after the election. Rhoades says he was glad that Mangan didn’t rush the decision, saying “due deliberation was in order here.”