Regulator says tobacco companies filed reports late

HELENA (AP) — Montana’s campaign regulator says two tobacco companies opposing a ballot initiative registered late and failed to report a campaign expense.

Commissioner of Political Practices Jeff Mangan wrote in a decision last week that Altria Client Services and RAI Services Company registered as incidental political committees two days late in June. They also failed to report the travel expenses of a representative who appeared before the Montana Chamber of Commerce.

The companies represent the makers of Marlboro and Camel cigarettes and report spending $8.8 million on the Montanans Against Tax Hikes committee that opposes the initiative to raise the state’s tobacco tax by $2 per cigarette pack.

Committee spokesman Chuck Denowh says the violations are minor and notes that allegations made by the initiative’s sponsors against the committee itself were dismissed.

Most campaign violations are resolved through negotiated settlements.