BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Montana legislative candidate is disputing a determination by the state's campaign regulator that a $3,000 loan is an illegal campaign contribution that must be returned.

The Billings Gazette reports that Republican House candidate Rodney Garcia of Billings is calling the money a personal loan from Republican PSC Commissioner Terry O'Donnell.

Garcia contends the loan isn't subject to the state's $180 campaign contribution limit per election, and "if they want to think it's wrong, that's their problem."

Commissioner of Political Practices Jeff Mangan says it doesn't work like that. Montana law says loans to candidates are subject to the same limits.

The money is gone. Garcia reported spending $3,700 in the GOP primary to defeat Debbie Rowe.

Garcia's Democratic opponent, Amelia Marquez, says O'Donnell's money likely cost Rowe the election.

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Information from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com