Whatever happened before last Friday’s surprising defeat of the popular vote-by-mail bill in the Montana House of Representatives stinks to high heaven, and a lot of people in Helena are wondering when the press is going to start getting to the bottom of it.
House Bill 130, which would have launched a statewide vote-by-mail election system, passed twice with bipartisan support in House. But after a secretive, last-minute lobbying campaign Friday, 15 Republicans switched their votes on the final reading, killing the popular bill with a vote of 57-42 (all House Democrats voted for it).
There’s a lot of buzz that Congressman Dennis Rehberg was pulling the strings at the Montana Capitol Friday, directing his henchmen to do the dirty work of vote-buying in the Montana House of Representatives, Jack Abramoff style. After all, Rehberg has plans to run for the U.S. Senate in 2012—an election year that would have been significantly impacted by a vote-by-mail system.
Will Montana’s political reporters dare to ask what really happened? Or are they content with softball news stories and lame Republican excuses?
If any reporter is interested in chasing this down, maybe this will help. Here’s the contact information of the 15 Republicans who mysteriously changed their minds Friday. What are they getting in return for their mysterious votes? Montana voters deserve to know.
- Rep. Duane Ankney (HD 43, Colstrip)
- Rep. Tom Berry (HD 45, Roundup)
- Rep. Christy Clark (HD 17, Choteau)
- Rep. John Esp (HD 61, Big Timber)
- Rep. Brian Hoven (HD 24, Great Falls)
- Rep. Douglas Kary (HD 48, Billings)
- Rep. Harry Klock (HD 83, Harlowton)
- Rep. Cleve Loney (HD 25, Great Falls)
- Rep. Walter McNutt (HD 37, Sidney)
- Rep. Scott Reichner (HD 9, Bigfork)
- Rep. Don Roberts (HD 56, Billings)
- Rep. Janna Taylor (HD 11, Dayton)
- Rep. Wendy Warburton (HD 34, Havre)
- Rep. Ted Washburn (HD 69, Bozeman)
- Rep. Jeffrey Welborn (HD 72, Dillon)