Gianforte appoints new commissioner of political practices

Gov. Greg Gianforte appointed Chris Gallus on Jan. 19 to serve as the next commissioner of political practices.

Gallus’ appointment fills the vacancy after Jeff Mangan resigned, effective Dec. 30, 2022.

Gallus is a Butte native and graduate of Carroll College and the University of Montana School of Law, according to a release from Gianforte’s office.

Gallus has practiced law in Montana for nearly 30 years and his practice has involved constitutional litigation, government relations, and state and federal campaign finance law, according to Gianforte’s office.

Under Montana law, when a vacancy occurs in the position of commissioner, a majority of a four-member nomination committee, comprised of the speaker of the House, Senate president, and minority leaders in both chambers, provides the governor with a list of two to five candidates to fill the vacancy, according to Gianforte’s office.

If a majority of the committee does not forward candidates, the governor may appoint someone who meets the qualifications under state statute. A successor must be appointed within 30 days of the vacancy, according to the governor’s office, and the appointee is subject to Senate confirmation.

“Montanans deserve a political system that is transparent and ethical, and they count on an independent, nonpartisan, well-qualified commissioner of political practices to serve as a watchdog to preserve that system,” Gov. Gianforte said in a release. “I have every confidence Chris Gallus will serve as commissioner with honor and integrity. I appreciate Chris’ willingness to serve the people of Montana in this critical role, and look forward his confirmation in the Senate.”