HELENA — Alden Tonkay, the Republican candidate for Montana’s House District 82, has been censured by the Lewis & Clark County Republican Central Committee following alleged fraudulent actions and a violation of Montana campaign laws.
Tonkay filed on January 13 to run for HD 82, the opening day candidates could file. He is running against Democrat Mary Caferro.
In January, Tonkay told MTN he wanted to bring a young and fresh perspective to Montana politics. He was working at the Montana Department of Justice at the time, but would later work as the communications director for the Montana Republican Party until mid-July.
First reported by the Montana Free Press, the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices investigated Tonkay following complaints from vendors that he had attempted to pay for services with bad checks.
According to the investigation, Tonkay failed to properly pay a sign company $1,565 and a catering company $540 for services related to his campaign. The companies told the state campaign watchdog Tonkay’s checks bounced due to insufficient funds. Commissioner Jeff Mangan additionally alleges Tonkay misreported his campaign debts in his financing reports.
“By doing so, candidate Tonkay has deceived both his own campaign contributors and Montana citizens…” Mangan wrote in his report.
The commissioner's finding says civil fines or prosecution is justified and has referred the matter to the Lewis and Clark County Attorney. The report notes many county attorney offices waive prosecution which means the Commissioner's Office would then be responsible for prosecution.
Following the report, the Lewis & Clark County Republican Central Committee this week censured Tonkay saying he “tarnished the trust and reputation of the Republican Central Committee and its candidates.”
The Lewis & Clark County Republican Central Committee has requested Tonkay appear before them on November 14. The Central Committee says in the next election cycle they will work to vet and select a single conservative Republican to run for HD 82.
MTN reached out to Tonkay multiple times by email and phone to do an interview about running for HD 82 and to address the allegations he faces. Tonkay did not show up for a planned interview on September 27 and has not responded to requests from MTN since.