Political practices reports apparent break-in

2012-11-01T11:06:00Z 2012-11-02T00:27:19Z Political practices reports apparent break-inBy SANJAY TALWANI Independent Record The Billings Gazette
November 01, 2012 11:06 am  • 

HELENA — The office of the Montana Commissioner on Political Practices was burglarized Wednesday night, police and office staffers said.

Mary Baker, program manager for the office, said Capitol Police contacted office staff on Wednesday night because a basement light was on and the front door was open.

Baker said it appeared some things may have been moved around the office.

The office has been busy handling many political finance form that were due Oct. 25 from candidates across the state and, in recent days, had had stacks of papers awaiting processing or filing.

She said the staff was not able to immediately determine if anything was missing.

She said that the so-called “Colorado Documents” that may contain sensitive information on 23 candidates in Montana, are in a secure location and are not missing.

Two Montana political consultants, Christian Lefer and Allison Lefer, sued the Commissioner Jim Murry on Tuesday in District Court in Helena for return of those documents, which they say were stolen from their automobile in Denver.

A PBS Frontline documentary that aired Tuesday said they were found in a “meth house” in Colorado and alleged that the documents may provide evidence of violations of campaign finance law.

Baker said the commission office, located in a small house on Eighth Avenue, had already stepped up security in the weeks before the election and was taking additional security measures.

Police logs indicate the matter was reported at 9:47 p.m. Wednesday.

She said there were no indications that the entry was related to Halloween vandalism.

The Helena Police Department is leading the investigation and would not confirm on Thursday whether there was forced entry into the office.

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