(1) The term "primary purpose" refers to the major, principal, or important goal, function, or reason for existence of a political committee.
(2) The commissioner may determine that the primary purpose of a political committee is to support or oppose candidates or ballot issues based upon any one or more of the following criteria:
(a) allocation and source of budget;
(b) allocation of staff or members' activity, both during an election and otherwise; or
(c) the statement of purpose, articles of incorporation, bylaws, or goals.
(3) The commissioner, in determining the primary purpose of a political committee, may also consider any one or more of the following criteria:
(a) reportable election activity;
(b) the history of the political committee and the number of elections in which it has participated or registered;
(c) receipt of contributions in response to an appeal or that are designated for a specified candidate, ballot issue, petition, or reportable election activity;
(d) the number and cost of reportable election expenditures made;
(e) coordination with any candidates or other political committees;
(f) ordinary business actually conducted;
(g) if a corporation, whether it was created and maintained as provided by law; or
(h) the date of founding, incorporation, or organization.
(4) If the commissioner finds, pursuant to ARM 44.11.204 and based on his or her analysis of the information provided on the political committee's statement of organization (Form C-2), or any other information known or provided to the commissioner's office, that an organization's primary purpose is to support or oppose a candidate or ballot issue, then that organization shall file and report as an independent committee, ballot issue committee, or political party committee, pursuant to these rules, and not as an incidental committee.
(5) The COPP's determination of the primary purpose of a political committee shall be based upon a preponderance of the evidence.
(6) Once notified of its classification by the COPP, a political committee may submit additional information and request to be reclassified pursuant to ARM 44.11.204.
The December 2015 poll of the Montana Legislature on proposed NEW RULE I (ARM 44.11.203
) PRIMARY PURPOSE in MAR Notice No. 44-2-207
was as follows: 26 Senators voted the proposed rule is consistent with legislative intent; 20 Senators voted the proposed rule is contrary to legislative intent; 52 Representatives voted the proposed rule is consistent with legislative intent; and 33 Representatives voted the proposed rule is contrary to legislative intent.