On Jon Sonju and Federal Earmarks

Craig Moore, a conservative blogger, pointed out a few days ago that Tester and Baucus and Rehberg all support earmarks such as the funds that Jon Sonju’s company receives.

So do I. While I’m not familiar with the Sonju earmark in terms of what it was for, I don’t think federal spending is the bogeyman that Teatards have made it out to be. True, we need to find out what type of stuff Sonju Industries is churning out, and see whether it is wasteful or necessary. But the fact is that Jon Sonju should not be ashamed of employing a sizable workforce paid for by federal earmark spending.

However, Sonju may not, like the imbeciles who populate his party, go around talking about how “government is the problem”. Nor may Sonju trash president Obama, who authorized Sonju’s huge multimillion dollar earmark in 2010.

I have no problem whatsoever with Tester, Baucus and Rehberg delivering earmark spending if it is well spent. (I do object to Baucus bringing a check to Sonju in the fall of 2010, but that was more along the lines of a political objection. I didn’t think Baucus should have been endorsing a Republican state senator over the Democrat Mary Reckin, which is effectively what Baucus did by delivering a giant government check at election time.)

Sonju and Hill have both earned a huge portion of their wealth from Government spending. Some of this spending has provided good stimulus for Montana; others, like the giant payments to Hill’s landlord business, are wasteful and sleazy. These contracts were most likely over-market, sweetheart, inflated rent payments. They were put under Hill’s Christmas tree by his buddies Martz and Racicot, and Hill collected this easy cash for decades while he was a sitting Congressman and also while his wife was in the Governor’s office puling the strings. It’s not pure welfare, but it’s pretty close.

Ironically, before Sonju got the nod, Bruce Tutvedt had long been rumored to be on Hill’s short list for a running mate. But Tutvedt was recently revealed to be one of the largest recipients of farm subsidies in Montana history, and so that probably hurt him.

And let’s remember that Neil Livingstone and Ryan Zinke are also big proponents of such an economic model, Zinke having fought for increased federal defense programs for Montana and Livingstone, likely (this is speculation) having worked on contracts from the US government.

So the irony is complete. Like Livingstone and Zinke, Rick Hill has, in selecting Sonju, stated a clear opinion: that a person should not be ashamed of making a living off of government spending. Certainly he is at odds with the Tea Party on this issue.


22 Comments on "On Jon Sonju and Federal Earmarks"

  1. Where to begin except at the beginning.

    First, I do not have, host, or write posts at any blog. I offer comments only. Calling me a “blogger” is typical of the factual inaccuracy found here.

    Second, I speak only for myself. I do not seek out to advise or receive counsel from anyone else. I’m just an average Joe with his own opinions.

    Third, the use of plural “earmarks” is erroneous in the context of my linked comment.

    Fourth, it was Tester that proclaimed at one time he was against all earmarks and made a campaign issue out of it. To the extent there is political hypocrisy on this issue, start with Tester.

    Fifth, more likely than not, Sonju Industries, is merely a subcontractor. The US govt. doesn’t like directly managing the small contractors. The amount of money Sonju Industries receives for its work is not discussed by the Gillings G or here. It’s disingenuous for you to imply they receive the whole amount.

  2. Well , it does appear that they received enough for a U.S.Senator to come hold a big earmark press conference about it, so there is that.

    • A “big earmark press conference” of the type implied here is more typical on the order of what Tester did taking credit for federal funds for the unnecessary border station upgrades. In the Raytheon/Sonju Industries matter the funding is for an ongoing defense contract that is governed by a stack of laws, regulatory compliance requirements and performance audits.

  3. And border crossings aren’t?

    • No, needless border station renovations are not continuing government contracts. George Ochenski has the story: http://missoulanews.bigskypress.com/missoula/the-road-to-nowhere/Content?oid=1288213

      Then, back in April of this year, both senators lauded the tens of millions of dollars they’d appropriated for expanding personnel, installing security improvements—such as launching drones to spy on Americans and Canadians while they work or recreate along the border area—and what they called “upgrading” border stations. One of those stations, Whitetail, sits in a remote part of northeastern Montana and was scheduled for a stunning $15 million dollar makeover. To put that number in perspective, one has only to recall that this station gets about five crossings a day and no commercial traffic. Some security risk.

      Given the bizarre state of national politics these days, it was none other than Montana’s lone congressional representative, Republican Denny Rehberg, who suddenly got religion on fiscal responsibility and took Tester and Baucus to task over the pork barrel appropriation. It would be funny, were it not so tragic, to have Rehberg, who voted in lockstep with the Bush cabal to push the national debt into the stratosphere, suddenly concerned about a few million dollars being spent in his home state—however needless the end product.

      But lo and behold, Rehberg wasn’t the only one to cry “foul” and finally force Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to release the agency’s review of just how it determined where we had security risks and how much money should be spent to address them. As it turned out, Republican criticism combined with in-fighting for the pork by fellow Dems eventually revealed the ugly truth—which was basically that Napolitano’s agency had virtually no methodology for prioritizing the expenditures. It was, as usual, merely a matter of political suckage with the pork flowing to the biggest suckees. Embarrassing, but nothing out of the ordinary for Congress and the federal government, despite the pledge of “change.”

      Hoping to pull some fur over their exposed tails after the investigation, Tester and Baucus harrumphed about the expenditure and, in a token gesture to fiscal responsibility, reduced the planned outlay from $15 million to about $8.5 million for this five-people-a-day crossing.

      Then, last week, as reported by the Associated Press, the Canadians decided to close the road on their side of the Whitetail border crossing. Ironically, they did so after a government study to determine the efficiency of maintaining numerous crossings. Since there are two other crossings within 17 and 34 miles, the Canadians decided the minimal traffic didn’t merit the expense.

      The wasted 1.3 million spent on the project went to a Colorado firm.

      • You’re right Craig.

        Your responses were far too logical and full of factual info in order for someone to call you a “Blogger”.

        Bloggers tend to type first and think later.

  4. Where is Senator Tester really?

    “The senator is hosting his tenth small business workshop at the University of Montana in Missoula on February 21st.”

  5. Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS | January 23, 2012 1:49 PM at 1:49 PM |

    So Craig your whinning because you gave an Opinion and no one else has the right to criticize it? The fact is a sub Contractor works for the government period! Any other money in the form of a grant or earmark is usually got tons of GOV stings attached to it as well in reporting how the money is spent! The problem with Jon Sonju is he should give it all back and quit his syb contracting for the government before criticizing the biggest account he has for His Company! The man is a Hypocrite, just like the rest of`the GOP is!

  6. Where is Larry with an uncle sugar teat comment..because it looks like all of these small government conservatives are living large off of it.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | January 23, 2012 6:28 PM at 6:28 PM |

      HEY, Louie, SOME of us have to work to pay taxes to keep Unca Sugarteat’s mammaries plumb FULL so’s that all them Teatards can SUCK up all that hated gubmint money they hate so much!

      You see, Louie, I have ENDLESSLY tried to get even ONE little Teatard gubmint sucker to go full frontal Teatard with me! But unfortunately, they simply won’t do it! You see, I TOO am a Teatard. I have NEVER been able to suck one DIME of Unca Sugarteat milk outta the gubmint. And as a result, I have been totally self-relaint my entire life. And what don’t KILL you, makes you stronger!

      I rely entirely on my own wits and physical strength to survive. And I’ve got no problem with that. Hence, my challenge to all the Teatards out there. And here it is. NO hated gubmnint money for ANYbody! No SSI, no welfarr, no CORPORATE welfare, no military retirement, no farm subsidies, no medicaire, no medicaid, no unemployment, no sonju sucking, no NOTHING!

      And you know, Louie, I have YET to have even ONE Teatard sign on! Why? Why is that? Well, simply because they are ALL sucking LARGE off’n that hated gubmint tit! They feel that THEY are the only hogs that belong at the trough.

      Well, sorry, it don’t work that way. They are simply greedy scumbags that don’t want to share. They want everyone ELSE to take hind tit ’cause they’re patriots!

  7. Norma, I made no such claim or intimation as to being above criticism. Any whinning is contained in your comment directed at me. :)

    • Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS | January 24, 2012 2:22 AM at 2:22 AM |

      I am not whinning… you brought up the Sub contractor bit, and then tried to pass excuses for your boy Jon S who is clearly making more money off the Government then you conservatives say is allowed! I love how you guys bend your conservative rules every time. Lets face it you have no Golden rules in your party, and you wont stand by your GOP principles… Dont do as we do, just do as we say?


      Then your little comment about Tester wanting to put up a few border crossings ( jobs), while not mentioning Rehburg wants the third top of the state for a border crossing…. Priceless!How much you think thats gonna set us back without tourism in this state?

      Plus, If GOP Denny gets his way, corporations will get to rape Glacier park, and all the federal land…. all the way south of the Canadian Border to Flathead & Ft Peck lakes(depending which side of the divide you live on)? Wow, How cool is that (SNARK)!

      No I am not whining just wondering when you GOP types are gonna, pull your head out of that dark spot & come up for air!

      • Norma, you have become hysterical and incoherent. Very Larry-esque for you to substitute emotion and insults for substance. But I guess you are doing the best with what you have.

        • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | January 24, 2012 10:19 AM at 10:19 AM |

          Too funny, craig. We all KNOW that your inbred pals are the party of substance now, DON’T we! The flatearthers, science haters, and religiofundiwackmentalists are SO substantial! Hey, they’re your pals, craig. EMBRACE them! You’re becoming Skeesian in your posting, general.

        • Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS | January 25, 2012 3:04 PM at 3:04 PM |

          When You dont have an Answer Blame it on the other guy! Thank goodness my world doesn’t revolve around people like you! This is the very function the GOP embraces now….. when we don’t have an answer deflect????? Okay!

          The reason Other state contractors, as well as Canadian contractors get the work on federal Jobs in Montana is because, the GOP does not teach their people how to file for the Jobs!

          You and Rehberg only want contracts for their rich buddies!

          Any GOV Job like fixing Custom Border Shacks could have had a Montana contractor doing the work… And Maybe their was Montana contract offers made and Montana business didn’t get the job….. because they weren’t professional enough for the job at hand, or didn’t file their offer correctly! Tester, goes out of his way in his Business workshops to teach Gov Contracting now, something the GOP wants to keep under wraps!

          The Job was posted publicly on the web, first and no one in Montana snatched it up! This happens a lot here and you can slow it down teaching MT business where and when to contract online for a Government Job!

          But blame us DEMS, for your GOP shortcomings…. I can take that kind of dumb victimizing all day long

          • Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS | January 25, 2012 3:10 PM at 3:10 PM |

            You see Jon S family knows the US Contractor system and Uses it all the time! But when you disparate this same cash Gov cow, To look like a twisted version of a Teaparty Member, who doesn’t want the Government ………You should forfeit all rights to future Contracts with the US Government!

            Jon S is still a Hypocrite in my book and so are you!

  8. Maybe Sonju has publicly supported the funding–on that case, he is not a hypocrite.However, the Roger Koopmana of the world will probably call him a RINO.

    • Koopman actually gave Sonju a very conservative rating on his mid-term TAB report.

      Greg Hinkle 86
      Joe Balyeat 77
      John Sonju 77
      Bob Lake 77

      Priest got only a 64.

      You can see the whole report here:

      • “Priest only got a 64 and Sonju got a 77.”

        That’s so impressive! Is there some kind of award we can give him for this amazing achievement? Or maybe a medal of some kind? Perhaps a nice bottle of wine.

  9. As if Mary Reckin had any shot at defeating Sonju. That jerk Baucus destroyed her campaign! Please stick to topics that I know you are desperate to have discussed such as how we can get GOP gubernatorial candidates to answer questions like: Why is Schweitzer so darned popular? or How much backpedaling Republicans are forced into having to do to explain their constant hypocrisy? That’s a lot more fun than boring stuff like earmarks.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | January 23, 2012 6:10 PM at 6:10 PM |

      That jerk Max Barfuss??? Why yes, he is!
      “montana’s senator”. (tee hee) Never was a Dem, never was a Pubbie. Kinda more like a political hermaphrodite! Time for ol’ Mini to hit the ol’ lonesome cornhole burns trail. Hell, I think he’s just hangin’ on now as a senator now for the groupies! Can’t get it any other way!

  10. Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS | January 24, 2012 1:49 AM at 1:49 AM |

    These people flooded the Montana legislature with 1100 bills that we know of for more regulation, yet they are conservatives, small gov? go figure!

    I think there rating is a bit off, looks like they were voted more on how many times they called themselves a Patriot! They got ESP as a liberal Bwahahahaha!

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