- Associated Press - Friday, April 13, 2018

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A conservative organization has agreed to pay $30,000 to Montana to avoid a trial on charges that it spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to influence the 2012 elections.

Commissioner of Political Practices Jeff Mangan released the settlement agreement with the Montana Growth Network on Friday.

The network, headed by former Republican state Sen. Jason Priest, claimed to be an incidental political committee that did not have to disclose its donors.

Mangan’s predecessor, Jonathan Motl, concluded in 2015 that the group should have registered as an independent political committee and reveal donors that included the head of Cox Enterprises, James Cox Kennedy, and broker Charles Schwab.

The investigation found the group failed to report $144,000 spent to influence state Supreme Court and Senate races, and another $459,000 on media consulting.

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