HELENA – A Montana political-action committee has admitted to violating campaign laws in the 2012 election – and will pay a $30,000 fine.

State Commissioner of Political Practices Jeff Mangan on Friday announced a settlement with the Montana Growth Network.

The conservative-leaning Network spent at least $190,000 on ads and other activities to support Republican legislative candidates and successful Supreme Court candidate Laurie McKinnon.

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But the settlement says about $144,000 of that spending was not reported or disclosed – and should have been.

The Growth Network is headed by former state Senator Jason Priest of Red Lodge.

Mangan’s office took the Growth Network to court in 2016 – but says the settlement Friday will end the case, once the $30,000 fine is paid.

Records indicate the Growth Network spent at least $120,000 supporting Supreme Court candidate McKinnon, in her 2012 race against Ed Sheehy.

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