Judge dismisses media complaint against GOP caucus


A state judge has dismissed an effort by media groups that sought to have the House Republican Caucus held in contempt of court for holding an unpublicized meeting in apparent violation of state open-meetings law.

On Nov. 13, a Great Falls Tribune reporter discovered a Republican caucus being held in the basement of a Helena motel. Republicans did not give public notice of the meeting. Twenty media groups, including The Associated Press, sought to have the caucus held in contempt of a 1998 court ruling on closed caucuses.

District Judge Kathy Seeley on Tuesday noted the 1998 court ruling said such meetings should be open, but it did not specifically require public notice. She did say the 1998 ruling could be used as a basis to seek an order that requires parties to give public notice of caucuses.

The media groups have yet to determine how to respond to Seeley’s ruling.