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Montana Democratic Party seeks investigation of Zinke, super PAC links

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Ryan Zinke answers a question during a debate

Ryan Zinke answers a question during a debate.

HELENA – The Montana Democratic Party filed a complaint Monday with the Federal Election Commission seeking an investigation into connections between Republican U.S. House candidate Ryan Zinke and the super PAC he founded.

The Special Operations for America political action committee is coordinating with the Zinke campaign committee, the complaint said. The two groups used the same research consultant last year, according to the complaint.

Super PACs are allowed to spend money to support or oppose candidates, but they’re not allowed to coordinate with them.

“These were baseless allegations when they were filed in the primary and are baseless allegations now,” Zinke said in a statement. “They are a recycling of old Democratic press releases, and are simply more politics and less leadership.”

Two Washington, D.C.-based advocacy groups filed a similar FEC complaint in March. The FEC has not yet issued a ruling.

Special Operations for America has been running ads supporting Zinke, a former state senator of Whitefish, since he stepped down as its chairman to announce his candidacy. The group has spent more than $185,000 in support of Zinke.

Zinke faces Democrat John Lewis in November’s U.S. House election.

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