Posted: May 11, 2012 10:21 AM by Marnee Banks (KXLH Helena)
HELENA- A Republican candidate running for Governor is using "robocalls" to get his message out.
Despite Montana law stating automated calls are illegal, Ken Miller says he believes he isn't breaking the law.
Montana law states a person may not use an automated telephone system for the selection and dialing of telephone numbers and playing of recorded messages if a message is for the purpose of promoting a political campaign.
He says that former Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath issued an opinion on Montana's robocall law declaring it unconstitutional. However, Montana's News Station has not been able to track down this opinion and Miller's campaign has not yet produced it either.
If charges are pressed the Miller campaign could face a fine up to $2,500.
Miller says his campaign has made over 100,000 automated calls over the past two days. The Commissioner of Political Practices (COPP) office, which regulates campaign practices, even received one of the calls.
COPP Program Supervisor Mary Baker says when she found out about the calls she notified the campaign that they may be violating the law.
However, Baker notes "robocalls" are a criminal offense and the Commissioner has no authority to prosecute that area of the law. She says criminal complaints are handled by local law enforcement.
Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito says he has not yet received a complaint about the calls.
Here is a transcript of the message: "Hey this is Ken Miller. If you haven't heard I am the grassroots tea party endorsed conservative, running for Governor of Montana. The Miller momentum is growing like wildfire across this state and with my running mate, Bill Gallagher, we are winning straw polls everywhere. You may have seen our green and blue signs in your area. Hope we can count on your vote for Miller Gallagher by June 5th. I'd love to hear from you today. I'm Ken Miller. Feel free to call me on my personal cell: 670-8318. This call is paid for by Miller for Governor Box 325 Laurel, Montana."