TEA Party Lawmaker Caught Telling Whoppers About Sponsoring ALEC Bill

TEA Partier Testifies that his ALEC Bill Has Nothing to Do with ALEC, Public Records Show Otherwise

A TEA Party lawmaker with ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC has been caught coordinating with the organization on an ALEC model bill after claiming that the corporate bill mill had nothing to do with his legislation.

The bill in question is SB 314 a bill Sen. Roger Webb is sponsoring which would create an “Interstate pipeline compact.”  During a hearing on that bill, a witness pointed out that this was an ALEC boilerplate bill.  Senator Webb then testified on the record that this was not an ALEC bill, and that he did not know where this idea came from.  You can hear him say this by playing the audio clip below.


However, take a look at this image from the public bill drafting file known as the “junque” file. It’s a note on Senator Webb’s letterhead directing Sonja Nowakowski (the bill drafter) to call “ALEC.” More specifically, that she get in contact with “Carla,” an employee of ALEC who I have been told is ALEC’s international and federal relations representative.


It’s not clear why Webb is suddenly trying to hide his ties to ALEC now, since in the past he has proudly endorsed pushing boilerplate bills on behalf of out-of-state corporations.  I don’t think this bill even had any proponents  – just Webb himself.

In a PBS expose on ALEC influence in the Montana Legislature (Brought to You by ALEC) a reporter tags  along with Webb, Wittich, and other Montana legislators to an ALEC conference.

The PBS expose includes some telling interviews with Webb, including at 7:05 minutes in, when Webb admits the bulk of ALEC’s revenue comes from corporate donors with a vested interest in the legislation they’re pushing.  He says this doesn’t bother him in the least, because to him ALEC funding this is no different than businesses supporting Girl Scouts and Little League – two organizations that, I would point out, lack the power to make state laws we all must abide by.

SB314 passed the senate floor today 28-22 with Sen. Tudvedt (R-Kalispell) joining the dems in opposition.



20 Comments on "TEA Party Lawmaker Caught Telling Whoppers About Sponsoring ALEC Bill"

  1. I lived in the northern Virginia/D.C. metro area for four years (and would not recommend it to anyone from Montana). I had two northern Virginia phone numbers. One was a landline at (703) and was public. The other was a cell number at (571) and not many had that number. So for Webb to have a (571) number suggests he and Karla Brown had met at some point or he had her business card because her (571) number is not listed on the staff page (http://www.alec.org/about-alec/meet-our-staff/) but you can get it if you search the ALEC page for her specifically (http://www.alec.org/task-force-contact-ir/).

    She has been big on the KXL policy, so it makes sense he would know to reach out to her when they were discussing pipelines. That’s a little inside-baseball in terms of phone prefixes, but I think it’s important that Webb had her cell number ready for his staff to call. He specifically knew to reach out the her for whatever he needed to provide for talking points for this bill he “sponsored.” Again, and not surprisingly, it suggests ALEC has been working with him pretty actively, or vice versa.

    Also telling when he spoke on the floor today, Webb said he had the support of both Daines and Zinke. Supposedly they would be willing to push a federal mandate for these pipelines (I admit I paid little attention to the details of this bill because, with a future veto, it seems not worthy of more attention). It may be a reach, but given how active both of them have been with this legislative session it seems like there is some grander connection between how Daines/Zinke want the Montana legislature to run and how the ALEC crowd are helping achieve that end. Yet, the GOP legislators take the floor day after day to talk about how broken D.C. is and how little they want to compare to Congress. Hypocrisy is nothing new with them, but more evidence always helps to prove the case.

  2. I was always taught that if you are caught lying during legislative testimony – your credibility is shot – you’re done. We all know now that Roger Webb isn’t just a cruel man who has disdain for the poor, who was convicted of beating and shooting 2 pet labs, and is also an unabashed liar.

  3. Webb surely met this woman at one of the ALEC conference he and Wittich attended. He’s probably been to several junkets for ALEC – I’d like to know if he was on the Florida junket with the Foundation for Government Accountability too. The public has a right to know.

  4. Old Line Democrat | March 6, 2015 7:56 AM at 7:56 AM |

    In the spirit of “Hillary bashing” Cowgirl or some other enterprising person should make a public information request for all of Sen. Roger Webb’s emails and phone records relating to his activity with ALEC and his role as a legislature. Clearly, he cannot tell the truth of his own volition, so we should be able to see all of his contacts with this influential group.

  5. Grandma Jeannie | March 6, 2015 8:33 AM at 8:33 AM |

    The legislature has exempted themselves from public records laws- they have made their own emails secret while every other public document (outside of private medical information) is not. A convenient arrangement for Webb and his cronies it appears.

    Webb is widely regarded as a buffoon of the lowest order.

    • Old Line Democrat | March 6, 2015 1:15 PM at 1:15 PM |

      Well at least one member of the Legislature disagrees with you.

      This was attached to a recent exchange;

      * * *
      Senator Cary Smith
      Senate District 27
      Montana State Senate
      Majority Whip
      cell # 406-698-9307

      *Committed to……..preserving our Freedom & Liberty*

      Legislators are publicly elected officials. Legislator emails sent or received involving legislative business, may be subject to the Right to Know provisions of Montana’s Constitution and may be considered a ‘public record” pursuant to Montana law. As such, email sent or received, its sender and receiver, and the email’s contents, may be subject to public disclosure, except as otherwise provided by Montana law.
      * * *
      I would certainly argue that any emails between a Montana legislator and any person working for ALEC in relation to Montana legislative proposals fits under the definitions set forth above by the Majority Whip.

      I also believe that the Public Writings statutes in Sec. 2-6-101 et seq. MCA apply to the emails in question.

  6. Sen. Webb is a member of Dr. Ed’s “Smart Dust” Society.

  7. In late 2008, the Republican Party was thoroughly repudiated nationwide. The only stand-up leaders they had were Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Late 2008 was also the exact time when Baucus, who had just taken the recently-deceased Kennedy’s place as head of the Senate Finance Committee, was barnstorming around MT telling everyone that by his decree, Single Payer, the overwhelmingly popular and uber-rational healthcare system that virtually everyone who showed up to the Baucus show wanted, was off the table. We all knew then, just as we do now, that he was playing footsies with the medical/insurance industries, and that forcing everyone to buy private insurance from the corporations he was in the pockets of would be a horrible travesty and waste of an historic opportunity. Virtually no one had heard of the Koch Brothers then, and ALEC was the name of someone’s cousin. Because of Baucus’ and Obama’s inexplicable caving to…Limbaugh and Beck???…the Right smelled blood in the water and went in for the kill. We tried to push Baucus in the right direction but he would not budge, Kennedy was dead and that was that. By June of 2009, there were vicious rallies being bankrolled and promoted by Americans For Prosperity like the one at the Bozeman airport where the AFP bus acted like it was going run over people they didn’t agree with, and Baucus and Obama caved some more, the “public option” went off the table, more blood on the water, and then the wingos started showing up to political events with loaded assault rifles. Even then it took heavy lifting to get people to even understand who the Kochs were, let alone what they were doing to this country. ALEC was still somebody’s cousin. So yes, we’ve gotten to the point where we know what’s going on (collectively) but is it too late? You tell me. Why are the b-st-a-ds still running things?

  8. Unembarrassed fascism, right out in the open, is no one on the right bothered by this even a little? Why are Rs so wedded to fascism, especially the brain-dead tea party faction?

    • As Benito Mussolini said, “Fascism should rightly be called corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power.” Today’s MT GOP/TEA Party is the party of Corporatism/Fascism, they are now the Reich-Wing! Every single thing they do is only for the benefit of the Corporate interest.
      I have been re-reading the History and actions of pre-war Hitler and the parallels between him and the GOP can not be denied. From his banning of Unions on May 2nd, 1933, his persecution of homosexuals, his burning of sex ed books, his corporatism, his healthcare system that chose between the worthy and unworthy, his attacks on progressives and academia, to his 1938 German Weapons Act that completely deregulated gun ownership and the possession of ammunition in order to arm a fearful and paranoid citizenry, pre-war Hitler looks strikingly like today’s Right-wing Republicans.

  9. Koch AFP parasites rambling on at the HB249 hearing before Mr. Wittich, and spouting the usual, and fear tactics and that ‘O” word, OBAMACARE boogeyman rants again. There will be HELL TO PAY if this teabag controlled legislatures FAILS to do ANYTHING to help Montanans LIVE, and now the AFP puppet is THREATENING legislators in the upcoming election cycle.

  10. Kevin,

    How was it that Protestant Pastors got drawn into
    German Nationalism?

    As i remember they got active in re-writing New Testament.

    I completely forgot what re-write said about End Times,
    and Nazi=Nationalism.


    Bob williams

  11. Well, Nancy Ballance of course railed agaiinst HB249, and opponents just finished after about 35 minutes, and preceded by 2 HOURS and forty five minutes of proponents, most of whom only got to state their name, organization or background. KOCH AFP was right up front, and most of the opposition rambled on from national debts, OBAMA, federal ‘strings’, etc. We’ll see if Chairman Wittich really wants to take
    EXECUTIVE action tonight, which would rash, reckless and inconsiderate of the magnitude of the issue, about LIVES.

  12. WITTICH THE DICTATOR KILLED HB249 with rash, reckless executive action with a legislative
    trick DO NOT PASS to lock it up in committee, a lot of SMUG GOP faces after HUNDREDS of
    proponents for healthcare and only TWELVE opponents, including TWO AFP KOCH minions
    of those twelve.


  13. AFP and Wittich kill Medicaid for 70,000 people in Montana!

    But in today’s Lee paper,
    “Committee kills Bullock plan”, headlines over
    thirty column inches of very well composed journalism.

    Thankyou Publius II, for rest of the story, so to speak.

    Bob Williams

    • Wittich had it ALL rigged, with HB249 opponent Rep. Wagoner to put motion to pass WITH do not pass with adverse report READY to go, not even ONE freakin’ amendment aloud. VERY poor manners, judgement, and lack of chair qualities in Wittich’s jokes
      about folks wearing the t-shirts and common core math ‘dig’…..the SOULS of hundreds who’ve died – and WILL die – have to be screaming in his head I hope, or probably not, since he’s all about AFP and ALEC.
      And really, only 12 opponents, and two of them the paid ‘guns’ of Koch AFP? REALLY?
      Now Sen. Buttrey better STEP UP HIS GAME, it’s that grave.

  14. So, kids, you haven’t heard of the left-wing ALEC clone being brought to life — SiX or something. All over the Beltway blogs. The leftbillionards will fund it for sure — they know what’s good for gullible peasants.

    • What’s the name of this ‘left-leaning’ legislative think tank? In any event, NO legislatures should be accepting ‘boiler-plate’ bills and if legislators are too lazy , then they need to submit FEWER bills that are of better quality, staffed better and then get proper due process and diligence, not like the slap-happy, crazy rush of bills we’re treated to every two years in Helena. It’s INSANE the number, as some – on both sides – pile up dozens and dozens of bills, mostly placeholders and wasting invaluable legislative time during the 90 days.

      • Why reinvent the wheel. It’s called “Six” or something and they are trying to get funding from the Democracy Alliance. You should LIKE progressive boilerplate.

        • ‘Boilerplate’ allows for lazy legislators and staffs, who need to develop their OWN solutions and exercise due diligence, not be spoon-fed by any faction.

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