Big Sky Roundup

Gianforte appoints new Commissioner of Political Practices

By: - January 19, 2023 5:59 pm

Chris Gallus interviews with a nomination committee to be the next Commissioner of Political Practices on Dec. 28, 2022. He was appointed to the position by Gov. Greg Gianforte on Jan. 19, 2023. (Photo via screenshot from MPAN)

Gov. Greg Gianforte on Thursday appointed Chris Gallus to be the next Commissioner of Political Practices pending confirmation by the Senate.

Gallus was one of five people interviewed in late December by a nomination committee, which failed to reach a consensus on who to send to the governor for appointment. Because the committee did not forward any candidates, Gianforte was allowed to pick from the five who were interviewed or from an open field.

“I have every confidence Chris Gallus will serve as commissioner with honor and integrity,” Gianforte said in a news release. “I appreciate Chris’ willingness to serve the people of Montana in this critical role, and look forward (to) his confirmation in the Senate.”

Republicans on that committee wanted to send all five candidates to Gianforte for consideration, while the two Democrats on the committee hoped to send just two – Megan Martin and Debbie White-Goetz.

Gallus is an attorney based in Helena who holds a bachelor’s degree from Carroll College and a law degree from the University of Montana School of Law, according to his resume.

He has been a licensed attorney in Montana since 1996 who has extensive lobbying experience and has advised clients — mostly private businesses and trade associations — on elections and campaign finance law, he told the nomination committee and wrote in his resume.

The Commissioner of Political Practices is nonpartisan. They oversee and enforce state campaign finance law, investigate campaign and lobbying complains, and oversee ethical standards for legislators, state employees and public officers. They serve six-year terms and cannot be reappointed.

Former commissioner Jeff Mangan resigned at the end of December not long before his appointment was to expire. He made $80,000 per year in the position.

Gallus will have to go through a Senate committee and then be confirmed by the full Senate. A spokesperson for Senate Republicans said that would likely happen within the next 30 days.

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Blair Miller
Blair Miller

Blair Miller is a reporter based in Helena who primarily covers government, climate and courts. He's been a journalist for more than 12 years, previously based in Denver, Albuquerque and mid-Missouri.