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State asks to hit secretive group with big fine

By Associated Press
Published On: Jul 24 2013 04:12:21 PM MDT
ATP American Tradition Partnership
HELENA, Mont. -

The state is asking a judge to hit a secretive group known for challenging state campaign laws with a very large fine.
    
The request comes in the ongoing case involving allegations that American Tradition Partnership engaged in campaigns without disclosing spending.
    
District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock ruled last year that ATP acted as a political committee in the elections, and not as the educational organization it claimed.
    
The commissioner of political practices says the group should be fined $321,365. The state argued in a filing last week the maximum penalty is needed because of "blatant and pervasive violations" along with an "obvious disdain" for state laws.
    
The group has yet to respond in court to the request.
    
The group asked the judge Wednesday to reduce attorney fees requested by the state.