Rehberg seems to be attempting to get on the other side of the issue of “lawsuits against the government” by appearing to crack down on them. By doing so, one presumes, he hopes to neutralize some of the negative sentiment he dredged up over his own lawsuit against the Billings, MT firefighters who risked their lives to save his scrub brush. No doubt Rehberg has polling which shows how damaging his lawsuit could be to his U.S. Senate campaign against the popular Jon Tester.
The most recent example of Rehberg’s behavior can be found in today’s Missoulian, which reports that Rep. Denny Rehberg [is] one of 38 co-sponsors of the Government Litigation Savings Act that’s intended to reform the Equal Access to Justice Act, which says any government agency that loses a lawsuit to a private individual, group or business must pay the legal costs of the winner.
But for such a practiced practitioner of political games, Rehberg has violated the cardinal rule of Congressional crisis management: If you don’t have anything to hide, don’t behave like you do. By signing on to this bill, and pushing it in the press at every opportunity, Rehberg appears overeager– and that is causing his strategy to backfire. His focus on cracking down on lawsuits against the government is only serving to recall in voters’ minds Rehberg’s own lawsuit against Billings’ city firefighters.