Caught on Tape: Denny Rehberg Doesn’t Know Minimum Wage

14th Richest Member of Congress Caught Not Knowing Minimum Wage In His Own State

Rehberg on Minimum Wage: “I don’t know, what is it?”

New video surfaced today of United States Congressman Denny Rehberg unable to answer what the minimum wage is in his home state of Montana. First published at POLITICO, the video footage shows Rehberg offers no response when asked repeatedly for the minimum wage.

It reminds one of an episode of Michael Moore’s hilarious show, The Awful Truth. You can watch a clip here. It’s like Jay Leno’s person-on-the-street “Street Smarts” segments, where Moore asks rich people and working people on the street basic questions.  One is about the minimum wage, and like Rehberg, the rich on this show don’t know what it is either.

The DSCC put out a press release on this gaffe this morning, read more below the fold.

“Congressman Rehberg is more out of touch than we ever could have imagined,” said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Communications Director Eric Schultz, in a press release. “This is not the first time Congressman Rehberg has shown a disdain for the working men and women of his state. Time and again he has voted against giving Montanans a livable wage. But today he has sunk to a new low.”

More than 70 percent of Montana voters supported a 2006 ballot initiative to raise Montana’s minimum wage. Rehberg has consistently opposed the minimum wage in the United States House of Representatives. For reference, the Montana minimum wage is $7.35/hr, while the national minimum wage remains $7.25/hr.

Rehberg is 14th Richest Member of the House of Representatives, Worth Up to $56 Million. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Rehberg is the 14th richest Member of the House of Representatives. Personal financial disclosure forms show that Rehberg’s net worth in 2009 was between $6.5 million and $56.2 million. [Center for Responsive Politics]


A history of Rehbergs extensive efforts to increase the minimum wage for hardworking Montanans can be found below the fold.

Rehberg Opposed Raising the Minimum Wage. In 1996, Rehberg opposed raising the minimum wage.  “I don’t want to cost Montanans a job because an employer cannot afford to hire them,” said Rehberg.  “I think there are better alternatives.” [Livingston Enterprise, 6/24/96]

Rehberg Opposed Effort to Pass Minimum Wage Bill Without Poison Pills. In 2006, Rehberg voted against an effort to pass a bill to increase the minimum wage without the estate tax cuts also included in the bill. The vote was on a motion that would have recommitted the bill to get a straight vote on the minimum wage increase and the tax cut extenders, without the poison pill estate tax provisions. The motion failed 190-220. [HR5970, Vote #424, 7/29/06]

Rehberg Voted Four Times Against Democratic Attempts to Offer Minimum Wage Increase. In 2006, Rehberg voted four times against Democratic attempt to offer an increase the minimum wage.  [HR2389, Vote #382, 7/19/06; HR2990, Vote#364, 7/12/06; HR4411, Vote #360, 7/11/06; HR5672, Vote #319, 6/27/06]

Rehberg Opposed Minimum Wage Increase. In 2007, Rehberg voted against increasing the minimum wage from by $2.10 an hour to $7.25 an hour.  The measure passed 218-212. [CQ House Action Reports, No. 110-3, 3/20/07; HR 1591, Vote #186, 3/23/07]

Rehberg Opposed Fair Minimum Wage Act. In 2007, Rehberg voted against an increase to the federal minimum wage by $2.10 over two years — from the previous level of $5.15 an hour to $7.25 an hour.  The bill passed 315-116.  [HR 2, Vote #18, 1/10/07]


39 Comments on "Caught on Tape: Denny Rehberg Doesn’t Know Minimum Wage"

  1. He is, however, well acquainted with the wages of sin.

  2. I wonder how many jobs he’s created out of his Bush Tax cut this year? That’s what we were promised, if we gave the rich their tax cut they would start hiring…..

  3. Lame. I suspect that many Representatives and Senators don’t know the minimum wage in their respective state – and furthermore, they don’t really need to. That’s like asking them how much a loaf of bread costs – designed to elicit a “oh, fancy rich folks are so out of touch!” response, but ultimately don’t reveal anything of substance about the politician (no matter the party).

    Such cheap “gotcha” attempts do, however, reveal quite a bit about the people shooting the video.

  4. Oh – and WTF on the “14th richest member of Congress” call-out? Is Rehberg’s wealth supposed to automatically make people assume that he is is bad/evil/corrupt?

    • No -not his wealth…it’s his p-poor record in 10 years, cringe-worthy gaffs, frequent foot-in-mouth moments, hypocrisy on just about everything under our sun (earmarks, veterans, jobs, etc), inability to think outside the GOP master brain, suing firefighters, etc… You see what I am getting at: it’s quite a long list that makes him a bad representative (evil is such a hard thing to prove so I’ll leave that and corruption for others to debate).

      If Denny’s the kind of guy you and the GOP wants to hold up locally and nationally – more power to you. You’ll be doing half our job for us.

      And no, I don’t think he’s the kinda of guy I’d grab a beer with – we’ve seen how that works out for his bar mates.

  5. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | March 8, 2011 1:20 PM at 1:20 PM |
  6. It does look like a bit of a “gotcha” attempt, but Blinky’s record shows that he doesn’t want employers to have to pay a living wage. If he truly believes that somehow he is a superior being, entitled because of his superiority to live on the largess of his wealthy wife, that’s fine. However, when he ignores the fact that many of his constituents do not have wealthy families and the ability to sue an entire city fire department, he gets my dander up.

    We’ve been hearing this trickle-down twaddle and “cut the business equipment tax” bs for years. We’ve tried throughout the years cutting the business equipment tax to attract industry. It hasn’t worked. We had the Bush tax cuts in place. Didn’t work. Didn’t create more jobs or improve the economy. Why would it suddenly be the right answer now?

  7. This is hilarious…the Montana GOP is trying to turn this completely around. Here is a press release from today.


    Bowen Greenwood
    (406) 465-1578


    Senator’s operative also harassed congressional aide

    Once again Senator Jon Tester has proven how out of touch he is with the people of Montana. Yesterday, a Tester campaign operative was caught on tape not knowing Montana’s minimum wage rate. Embarrassingly, the entire incident was captured on video by the very staffer who was ignorant of the law.

    “It’s the height of irony that a Tester campaign operative wouldn’t know Montana’s minimum wage rate. Given that Senator Tester and the Montana Democrat party are basically managed and funded with Big Labor operatives and money you’d think they’d at least know something about the minimum wage. As a public service to the Tester campaign, I’ll let them in on a secret – Montana’s minimum wage is $7.35,” said Bowen Greenwood with the Montana GOP. “You would figure this is something Senator Tester would know and wouldn’t have to pay a kid to find out for him. But I guess that’s what happens when you spend most of your time in DC being wined and dined by fat cat lobbyists.”

    Not only has Senator Tester decided he needs help on the issues, he also has sought to engage in a campaign of harassment and bullying. After failed, repeated attempts to get his question answered, Tester’s cameraman, Bob Plunk, turned his attack onto Rehberg’s state director Randy Vogel. Vogel, an employee of the U.S. House of Representatives was merely trying to do his job when the Tester operative began harassing him.

    “Senator Tester clearly knows he can’t stand on his record of big government so he’s going to revert to his old playbook of personal attacks,” continued Greenwood. “Hiring thugs to do your bidding is cowardice, if Tester truly were in touch with Montanans he would be talking about the issues, not hiding behind political operatives.”

  8. Couple of thaughts, first I voted against the initative to raise the mininum wage back in 06, since it has been raised all that has happened is small businesses like mom and pop resturants have raised their prices to cover the wage incress, so basically the raise all it did was lead to inflation. Second Denny should have known the mininum wage in Montana just as knowledge of his homestate, so I say shame on him for not knowing what is going on here in Montana. That proves that Denny is out of tough with Montana. Why is it that it seems after a person regardless of party has spent more then 2 terms in Washington that person loses touch with his or her home state? Case in Point Max Baucus, I would bet money that Max could not tell you the mininum wage in Montana either.

  9. During a town hall style “debate” in 1992 between George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, a woman asked both candidates whether they were in touch with the facts of the middle class’ economic life, and in specific whether they knew the price of hamburger (then around a dollar a dollar a pound). Clinton knew. Bush didn’t.

    Submitting candidates to a pop quiz on the price of hamburger, a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk, a cotton teeshirt, a bag of oranges, and a gallon of gasoline is not only fair but necessary. Candidate who lose touch with the facts of everyday living lose the ability to help the vast majority of the people they seek to represent.

    Denny wasn’t ambushed. He was exposed.

    • I’m a regular guy and I have no idea what groceries cost. My wife does the grocery shopping. I work all day and earn the dough.

      I don’t think I would want a president who does the grocery shopping in his or her family. I would prefer him or her to be focused on running the country. I believe the President has staff that does the shopping and cooking at the white house.

      I wonder if Obama would know how much these groceries you mention cost if he were asked without being warned. He’s been in the WH for almost three years now and I doubt he’s been to the store.

  10. The minimum wage is $7.35 in Montana.

  11. Somebody should make an attack ad based on this idea of the “Beat the Rich” quiz. I bet that would play well out there in Montana.

  12. The guy just gets dumber by the day!

    • I think the dumb people are the ones who actually earn (except for teenagers) and know what the minimum wage is.

      If you are smart, you wouldn’t be earning minimum wage, now would you?

      • we know hammond is never going to down-size you andrew…
        but it does happen to some really smart people who have made a lifestyle that is not supportable by several minimum wages…
        i’ll bet they know what it is…
        course, they were dumb to vote republi-CON and thought they didn’t have to worry about it…
        until the republi-cons sh*t-canned them.

        • I’ve been fired and laid off. By republican voting bosses even. Big deal. There are assholes in every group of people.

          I just simply picked myself up, hit the pavement and started over again.

          I’m not a cry baby whiner who thinks the world out to get me. The world is a tough and unfair place. You just have to believe in yourself and your capabilities and never give up.

          • From what Ive read about Andy on other blogs he had more than a little “assistance” from others. Doesn’t matter how ‘smart’ you are there handy Andy does it…when circumstances leave you high and dry and maybe even working for minimum wage. If you didnt know other people personally to loan you money during your hard times Andy what would you have done? Despite your crude insults Im sure the people at the poverello would still help you out…even if they knew who you were. Its so disgusting how some people have no capability to feel empathy even when they are being a complete hypocrite.

  13. Bid damn deal. The only people who know what the minimum wage is are teenagers and the losers who are incapable of making something more. I have no idea what the minimum wage is in Montana because the only time I made it was in 1980 as a teenager in my first job. I think it was $3.00 at the time but I got a raise to $4.00 one month after starting.

    • Andy, I make rather considerably more than the minimum wage, and I know what it is. What really proves the lie to your comment is that you probably do too, Andy. Any one working in business who’s worth half his/her salary does. But unlike Dennis Rehberg, we should know what impact it has in a consumer economy, for students, young workers, service workers, union workers and all sorts of folk who contribute to a growing economic effort. (Students sometimes, more so now, have to work their way through school. Young workers still need to earn enough to ‘grab their own bootstraps’, unless you think young workers can magically become CEOs overnight. It would be best to keep service workers happy; I for one don’t want some wage-slave spitting in my food because they make $2.00/hr. And unions often use the MW to set payroll demands.) Yes, Andy, anyone smart or putting even the minimum effort into our economy knows what the minimum wage is. Notice that doesn’t include Dennis Rehberg.

      It should be abundantly clear, Andy, but being pig-ignorant is not a virtue.

  14. Andy let me walk you through the world of a care giver one day because you have no Idea what is happening to American families or the people in your community. Are you afraid of the streets because thats were your friends in the GOP are sending the people of your Country? Do you care Andy as your money dwindles as well as your savings! It is happening to every walk of life, and instead of a strong middle class… we are back to that crapshoot! I am telling you your odds are not gonna be better then mine at the table!

    But talk your crap Andy, they say Karma’s a bitch… well see the day she meets up with people like you The Marie Antoinette’s of the world who say “let them eat cake!”

      • Nice story, Lynn. ND is one of the few states enjoying a booming economy. Oh, and surprise it is run by Republicans and the economy growing because of oil!

        Anyway, with the economy growing, I’m certain the cost of utilities are increasing, property values are increasing (causing the property taxes to increase), and demand for apartments is increasing as people move into Williston and ND for the jobs that are available. Simple supply and demand.

        The property owners of the apartment complex have every right to charge whatever the market can bear. They own the property! They need to be able to afford the increased costs of providing the utilities and paying the increased taxes. They also have the right to charge any amount of rent they see fit. They have decided to no longer subsidize the current residents. It appears that they will be able to fill all of there units with people willing and able to pay $2000 per month so why not?

        Until the government abolishes the right to own property, the apartment owners can charge whatever they want.

        • Thats plain ass greed! San Francisco rentalists pulled that same crap as well! People up and left who had been in apartments for 2o years because of rent increases… and they were replaced by traveling bands of google adobe and yahoo renters that had 4 to 8 month contracts with these companies! Most of the new people left the greedy renters after there contracts were up, and then the poor stupid rental owners who had kicked out all that good old money couldn’t find people to rent too any more!

          Outside sources bloomed, as folks move to outside places like Dublin, Concord, and Lafayette that were far cheaper and took mass transit in! Most of the places in SF still unrented today, most of the rental companies and owners of buildings bankrupt because of greed! Ya nice move Andy! Drilling oil is no different then tech Co. when you think of it! Willston just blew itself off the map cause it doesn’t have any thing but oil going for it! San francisco is a far more diverse town then Willston could ever think of being!

          The problem with you GOP is you do not take rental history’s of booms into account! And you call yourself a business man? LOL

          • Sure Money vrs Quick money! Liberals take the sure money, GOP will always go for the quick! Thats why your t party people are disgruntled today They all ran out of the quick greedy money!

            • lastly, because of the greed factor, people use to that short infusion of cash, started allowing big Minority families to move in that had the cash to pay 2000 per month(Familes with 2 or three breadwinners)! Not that I consider that a problem myself, I like diversity in a neighborhood… Others Lilly whites like you decided it brought down the sellability of their properies, and turned their quiet little areas into slums! This caused them to move out as well, or falter in their payments to the banks. because their racist white renters left the area!

              All tied to GOP greed and stereotyping! Welcome to the hell you are creating for whiteself in the quest to be the 1% (The Billion to 1 shot) of winning when you could be the responsible leader in the other 99% of the rest of the country! This is the very reason there are rental laws for greedy rentals owners!

              This is the reason you keep failing to realize or recognize the importance of minority people, or keeping an area infused in cash, this is the reason the country keeps falling backwards, while other countries embrace all people and all cash!

        • Hate to interrupt your free-market wank-fest, Andrew, but NoDak has a central bank … a socialized enterprise, if you will. That’s why companies can get expansion money very easily, as opposed to companies that have to please (Goldman-Sachs) Wells Fargo or BOF.

    • I care very much my friend. I see very clearly Liberal policies and Obama taking us down and destroying our once great economy. Your belief in Liberal ideology and Academics trying to control the economy are a surefire path to serfdom. The free market and consumers deciding whats important through their spending are the only way to prosperity.

      I also believe in Conservative’s emphasis on equal opportunity. I DO NOT believe in Liberal’s emphasis in equal outcome.

      Karma is certainly a bitch. We are seeing it right now as Obama and his Liberal fools are imploding. It is a joy to watch. The tragedy is they are taking then country and economy down with them. 2012 cannot get here soon enough.

      • If the West Virginia gov election is any indication of Montana Karma Andy; with the nasty politics that gained your party Nada, Zip, and zero… I will gladly take that! I am also assured by many progressive for the community and real people types, in my party… we are ready to take off the gloves as well!

        Even the blue dogs in our party, wont be there much longer…. waffling is no longer considered a way to get Policies done!

      • which of the “liberal” policies that you find so repulsive and destructive…
        were not also the policies of the texass monkey boy…
        who, we must remember, crashed the stock market shortly after he took office, entered us into the disastrous wars we still suffer, shoveled hundreds of billions to the rich at the massive expense of the middle class, installed a gestapo “homeland” national police, helped companies ship jobs and money out of the country, and crashed the market a second time as a goodbye gift?

    • Here’s a real life story about my attempt to add some jobs and launch a start up company in Obama’s world.

      • You expect us to believe that BS you wrote! A business so secretive you cannot mention it, the fact that you didn’t even name, state and federal employees you talked too or what processes like “Headwaters” you followed smacks of plain old lies buddy! My 7 year old grandchildren could write a more compelling story as a independent newspaper carriers!

      • Andy, several things:

        1) You need a better calender. Obama will not be out of office until 2013 at the earliest.

        2) You claim a history of “strong performance and proven success”. Weren’t you just writing at this very website about getting fired? Oh, that’s right. Your boss then was an “asshole”. But still, I find that hard to reconcile with “proven success”.

        3) I sympathize with your complaint about ‘regulations’. Several years ago, here in Bozeman, a group of ex-athletes had the entrepreneurial spirit to start a pharmaceutical distribution concern. As you’ve guessed, those pesky regulations got in the way. It turns out that torturing a competitor and shooting him in the head is against regulation. Who knew? Regulations (laws) exist for a reason, Andy. Don’t expect sympathy if you won’t clarify how much poison you wanted to spill into the waterways of Montana. And blaming the ‘political climate’? That’s just lame. You call yourself successful?

        4) So, you couldn’t pay highly skilled labor minimum wage to work 80 hours a week. That you chicken-shitted out of your awesome venture is becoming less of a surprise by the second.

        Andy, this is why I think you’re incompetent at business, in almost every sense. If your business model and innovative idea was all that good (or legal) then you would have found a way to implement in the current business environment. Instead, you’re going to wait for a more “friendly business environment”. That is the precise definition of *not* having a ‘sound business model’. If you can’t do it, you can’t do it. Suck it up and move a long. The business environment is the one thing you can;t control, though the Koch brothers are trying their asses off to do so. The business environment is defined by consumers, voter will, consumption, readily available labor at market price, access to resource and will to innovate. You apparently aren’t willing to engage any single one of those challenges. You will fall to your knees, praying to Republican Jesus every night, hoping that someone else gives you the possibility to be fabulously rich. And then you’re stupid enough to think that you could do it without the help of the masses. Dude, your bootstraps are broken.

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