Montana study broke law (maybe), but we shouldn’t have been here in the first place

The Montana field experiment has been deemed a campaign finance violation by the chief regulator in Montana.

I’m not sure any other outcome was expected, politically, and I’m also not sure this will stand up legally (or be pursued at all by the state attorney–they may just leave this statement of a violation as the appropriate slap on the wrist).

But as I wrote back when the controversy erupted, the bigger concern for academia is how we got here at all.

This has sparked a lot of discussion within academia, including a number of panels at MPSA and the CASBS, with more to come (including a symposium in PS if I can get my act together!).  The most positive outcome may be a bit of circumspection and modesty among academic researchers.