Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) The Montana Commissioner of Political Practices told two members of the Missoula City Council that a complaint lodged with his office alleging an ethics issue against the city falls under the jurisdiction of the Missoula County Attorney's Office.

Council members Sandra Vasecka and Daniel Carlino last week filed their complaint alleging the City of Missoula used taxpayer funding to promote the passage of the crisis services levy, which ultimately failed during last week's election.

Commissioner of Political Practices Jeff Mangan found no evidence of any wrongdoing, based upon the complaint filed by Vasecka and Carlino. He told them in writing that it was up to them whether to file a complaint at the local level, that being the County Attorney's Office.

Late Thursday, the Missoula County Attorney's Office said it has received nothing official from the two council members and therefor has nothing to look into. The cost of Vasecka's and Carlino's complaint to taxpayers and the city hasn't yet been determined.

“Our office has not received a formal complaint from Mrs. Vasecka or Mr. Carlino,” said deputy county attorney Brian West. “We don't know what the report would be.”

On Thursday, Vasecka and Carlino suggested they may pursue the option laid out by Mangan in filing a complaint against the city through the County Attorney's Office.

However, neither had done so by Thursday.

“After some reflection, I might pursue this further and bring it to the County Attorney,” Vasecka told the Missoula Current on Thursday.

City officials, who cannot comment on the matter citing impending litigation, said the complaint was akin to recent election conspiracies and they dispute the allegations. But Vasecka and Carlino suggest the flier sent out to inform voters about the crisis services levy was “obviously in support of the levy.”

However, the flier never used the terms “vote for” or “support” the levy. Carlino had expressed support for the levy heading into the election while Vasecka opposed it. Given that they've filed the complaint together has left city leaders mystified.

West said the County Attorney's Office won't act unless the pair make their allegations official with his office. If they do, West said the office would be obligated to follow through under state law.

“They need to make a complaint to the county attorney,” he said “But we have no formal complaint to vet. We have no formal complaint, so there's no action contemplated today.”