This week, Montana’s former governor Brian Schweitzer penned an op-ed in the state’s major dailies pointing out that the Koch brothers– who are bankrolling an effort to block health care for Montana’s poorest citizens–rake in millions in government subsidies for their Beaverhead Ranch in Dillon and make a big profit from it. If you haven’t yet read it, you can do so here.
Then a funny thing happened. A person identifying herself as a worker from the ranch began blogging in the comments of Schweitzer’s piece. The screenshots are below.
She says two things that raise a flag. First, she says that the ranch doesn’t pay taxes on its cows. That’s against the law and I’m surprised she’d make such an admission. In fact, one actually does need to pay taxes on the cows one owns. Each cow is property and the more you own the more you are supposed to pay.
The second is that she says that the ranch has been subletting the land it leases from government.
This would be illegal too, if in fact it is what she is describing. The LA Times has reported how such arrangements work: a big money rancher gets exclusive government permits to graze those lands. He pays the Bureau of Land Management $1.86 a month for each cow allowed to graze the vast expanse of BLM-managed public land. Then he charges others $8 to $12 per month per cow, pocketing the difference.
Anyway, read the whole exchange yourself and see what you make of it: