Ethics official resigns amid allegations

The state’s top elections and ethics enforcement official resigned late Tuesday amid allegations that he improperly used his state office and computer to conduct private law practice business on state time.

Commissioner of Political Practices Dave Gallik told the Tribune that he informed Gov. Brian Schweitzer of his decision to resign after learning that his staff in the commissioner’s office called the police Tuesday.

Gallik said he did not know why the staff called police while he was out of the office.

The Tribune on Sunday reported allegations made by all four members of the commissioner’s office that Gallik was fudging state time sheets and logging state pay for hours spent working on private practice matters, a charge Gallik denied.

Tuesday marked the first business day the commissioner’s office was open following the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and the publican of allegations in Sunday’s Great Falls Tribune.

Gallik said he “did not say one word” to his staff on Tuesday when he arrived at the office.

“I can’t afford to have more false accusations. They’re calling the cops and I didn’t say a word,” Gallik said in an interview shortly after telling the governor that he planned to resign.

Gallik called his staff’s accusations against him “a political, Republican-based fight against me.”

In a series of interviews with the Tribune the commissioner’s staff claimed Gallik regularly used state resources to conduct his private practice. They alleged that Gallik was logging hours on the state payroll when he was actually out of the office and working on private practice business. Gallik denied the allegations and said he often did commissioner’s work from his private office.

The attorney representing the four members of the commissioner’s staff did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

For more read tomorrow’s Great Falls Tribune.