Monthly Archives: July 2011

Killing Jobs

Congressman Rehberg is on the front lines when it comes to killing Montana jobs, this time in Billings and Eastern Montana.

And he’s getting another spanking in the Billings Gazette this week for it, because he and other Congressional Republicans, who refused to fund air safety services, are putting Eastern Montana jobs at risk–and have already cost the federal Government more than $200 million in revenue.

This revenue is money that was slated to pay for major airport construction projects like a runway construction project in Billings, which would create more construction jobs.  You don’t have to be a genius to know that a better airport is an incentive to businesses who would relocate to Montana.  Congressman Rehberg, you should listen to the Gazette:

Let’s not sacrifice Glendive’s only airline service in this political fight. Let’s not sacrifice jobs.

Something’s Rotten

The shadow group Western Traditions Partnership’s defense of Exxon after the Yellowstone River oil spill and its adulation for candidates defending the oil giant are raising eyebrows in Montana.

News reports indicate that WTP, which now calls itself American Traditions Partnership after it came to light that it was based in Washington D.C., rather than the west, appears to be coming very close to stumping for Dan Kennedy–something they shouldn’t be doing.

The national newspaper the Washington Independent is reporting that the executive director of WTP earlier this month:

flew to the site of ExxonMobil’s Yellowstone River pipeline spill to praise the cleanup response by the oil and gas giant and to laud the efforts of state Rep. Dan Kennedy.
“State Rep. Dan Kennedy, whose home is at the center of the incident, should be commended for his efforts to coordinate response with the local community and involve local workers in the ongoing cleanup efforts,” ATP Executive Director Donald Ferguson said in a press release. “I am very impressed with ExxonMobil’s response to this [oil pipeline] release.”

Hmmm.  Rep. Dan Kennedy (R-Laurel) comes out for Exxon, and WTP comes in to “laud his efforts.”  Maybe Ferguson was aware at some of how bad this looks, because he put this disclaimer at the end of his laudatory remarks:

“Donald Ferguson has paid for this trip out of his own pocket, and did not come at the request of any official or company.”

I wonder if Fergeson intended this disclaimer to distance his actions from Exxon, or from WTP?

Since WTP won’t disclose their donors, we don’t know if Exxon paid WTP with a secret donation rather than an outright contract.  WTP claims to work on “education” not getting candidates elected, and as to the question of whether WTP is stumping for Fergeson, how much does it matter if he “paid for it out of his own pocket” when he is the director, spokesperson, and figurehead of WTP, from whence he presumably draws his salary?

WTP is the lead plaintiff in the legal challenge to Montana’s ban on corporate spending for candidates.  They tout their organization’s secrecy as a benefit of giving them money and have been under fire for corruption in Montana and other states.  Montana TEA Party legislator Art Wittich (R-TEA Bozeman) is said to be the new local figurehead for the entity.

Daines Has More Trouble Figuring Out What to Do

Steve Daines has had trouble figure out what office he was running for.  Now, he can’t figure out his position on the most important issue currently facing the office he seeks.

This past January, Congressional candidate Steve Daines went on record at the Bitterroot Pachyderm luncheon promising, “that he would not approve an increase in the debt ceiling.”  Today, Daines has flipped his stance on the issue.

For months, Steve Daines’s campaign website asked followers to “add your name now to the petition to tell Congress to vote ‘NO’ to raising the ceiling on the national debt.”  That petition has disappeared, but here’s a screenshot:

Daines No Debt Limit Increase Petition


Daines now advocates Speaker Boehner’s plan to increase the debt ceiling, a complete reversal from his original position.

Franke Wilmer’s campaign caught the discrepancy, noting in a press release that Daines

“first agreed with the Tea Party and wanted America to default on our debt, now he agrees with Boehner and wants to cut Social Security and Medicare before raising the ceiling.”


Miller Campaign Touts GOP Primary Poll Results

The Ken Miller for Governor campaign today released polling results which they say shows “the Republican field tightening and Miller holding a very competitive position against Rick Hill.”

Information about the poll by Magellan Data and Mapping Strategies, which was an autodial survey of 676 likely GOP primary voters, and its toplines and crosstabs can be found here, along with a press release from the polling firm itself. 

In the Ken Miller campaign email, which was sent to supporters (and is pasted below the fold), Miller writes:

We shared that Ken Miller is a family farmer, small businessman, and a grassroots conservative, and Rick HIll is an insurance company executive, former Congressman, and an establishment moderate. After providing this information, respondents chose Ken Miller with 61% over 14% for Rick Hill and 25% undecided.

Of course, that’s comparing Hill’s negatives with Miller’s positives.  Miller also points out that the poll shows Miller and Hill are the race’s frontrunners.

Interestingly, the one negative that they didn’t test (or at least they didn’t release) is the one Miller’s campaign is suspected of shopping around.


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Dennis Rehberg’s “Welfare” May Be Holdup of House Debt Bill

Did anyone catch this little gem from The Hill this afternoon?  House conservatives are apparently up in arms over Pell Grant funding in John Boehner’s budget-slashing bill.  As of this posting, Boehner has delayed a vote on his bill, and sources say it’s because he doesn’t have the votes to pass it.

Why?  According to The Hill, it may be because “conservatives who have stalled legislation to raise the national debt limit are angry that it includes $17 billion in supplemental spending for Pell Grants, which some compare to welfare.”

Yes, Pell Grants.  And yes, we can thank our own esteemed millionaire Congressman for the “welfare” reference.

After calling Pell Grants the “welfare of the 21st Century” this spring, Dennis Rehberg tried to take back his words… by comparing Pell Grants to welfare again.

He’s going to need a better explanation than that no matter how he votes on the Republicans’ Medicare-cutting budget bill.