Posted: Dec 11, 2012 8:14 PM by Marnee Banks (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A Helena judge has essentially dismissed a case filed by American Tradition Partnership and also issued sanctions against it.
On Tuesday, Judge Jeffrey Sherlock threw out the majority of American Tradition Partnership's (ATP) case against the State of Montana.
Two years ago ATP sued the state after the Commissioner of Political Practices ordered the group to disclose its donors.
A few months ago Sherlock ordered ATP to provide information about its donors and expenses as part of the court's discovery process.
However, according to court documents the information was not provided in a timely manner, nor in the manner ordered by the courts.
Sherlock said ATP "...continues its attempt to evade or outright refuse to answer certain discovery."
Sherlock not only tossed out the guts of the case but is also requiring ATP to pay the state's legal fees.
ATP issued a statement today claiming they are disappointed with the decision but they will honor it:
"WTP is disappointed that we are being sanctioned for properly asserting our donors and our organization's first amendment right to have our information protected from government and public disclosure during the pendency of our lawsuit to vindicate our constitutional rights to engage in free speech and association from interference by the State of Montana and its officials."
The case technically involved Western Tradition Partnership, but since the filing of the lawsuit the group has changed its name to American Tradition Partnership.