Gianforte Funded Group that Promotes Public Land Takeover Oregon Militia Fought For

Rep. Kerry White (RTEA-Bozeman) said he had hoped to join Cliven Bundy in his armed stand-off against the BLM in Nevada.Rep. Kerry White (RTEA-Bozeman) said he had hoped to join Cliven Bundy in his armed stand-off against the BLM in Nevada.

TEA Partier provides clue to one of Montana’s great mysteries: What kind of fringe activity has Gianforte actually bankrolled?

This week, evidence came to light that shows TEA Party state legislator Kerry White (R-Bozeman) is loud and proud in his support for the thugs involved in the Oregon armed standoff. White, on his Facebook page, called on Oregon Sheriffs to “stand up and protect those people at the refuge” by “asking the federal soldiers to stand down” (Presumably he means the FBI, although White’s use of the word soldier shows he may be hoping that this is a war.)

White’s Facebook page also speaks to one of the states great mysteries: just what kinds of activities is Greg Gianforte bankrolling, since the candidate refused to answer questions about this from the press. Thankfully, White clues us in – he says the fake environmental group PERC, which Gianforte supports financially (screenshot below) has apparently done a study showing how great it would be if the public land takeover these Oregon loons were fighting for were a reality.


Kerry White PERC

PERC Gianforte
White wrote on his Facebook page: “There are a few Sheriff’s that represent justice and the people like Sheriff Glen Palmer.” Palmer is a member of a bunch calling themselves the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA). These guys believe that sheriffs are “the highest executive authority in a county and therefore constitutionally empowered to be able to keep federal agents out of the county”.  This is a pretty fringe bunch.  The organization draws much of its “philosophy” from the similar sovereign citizen and Posse Comitatus movements.


Kerry White Oregon Standoff

Just how far outside the mainstream are White’s views here? As Oregon Live reported, “[Sheriff Glen Palmer’s] endorsement of the militants’ demands stunned law enforcement officials.” It is stunning that White would also echo the militant’s anti-government demands and call for sheriff’s to rise up and block the FBI.

White isn’t the only supporter of this nonsense.  Rep. Bill Harris took to White’s Facebook page to call for a revival of a “sheriff’s first” bill, which was introduced in 2011 and 2013– both of which went down like lead balloons after a fair amount of national mockery.  bill Harris



17 Comments on "Gianforte Funded Group that Promotes Public Land Takeover Oregon Militia Fought For"

  1. The PERC report that White references does show that the states do get money revenue from leasing their lands, but one has to read the entire report to see why> When one charges more, more revenue should be expected. And that is the reason why.
    The report also only looks at four states to draw their conclusions (and don’t bother to compare the summary with the conclusions at the end of the report). Their are a few inconsistencies. I got in a discussion with Td Campbell in the comments section of a letter to the editor in the Bozeman Chronicle. So I did what we should all do, I read the PERC Report Thee is no doubt that the report summary was written before the analysis began. They knew what they wanted, now they just had to go out and provide the cherry picked data to support.

  2. Think this statement by the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Assn. is pertinent here. It can be viewed at the following link.

  3. Perc is also funded by the Kochs. Indirectly from a few of the little organizations they either started or funded.

  4. WhackaDoodle, WhackaDoodle ya’ll with ‘Doctor Gianforte’ and his ‘militia’ marvels!


    Palmer under investigation by Oregon State Police and AG. Bottom line – he was NOT trusted by serious law enforcement.

  6. Are there any Sheriff Palmer types in Montana?

    Does Montana have adequate laws and law enforcement to protect the public from Sheriff Palmer types?

    Does the Attorney General have the will to undertake that type of law enforcement?

  7. Did Barrett Kaiser write this? He did SUCH a wonderful job of counternarrative down there in Burns.

  8. Good morning Cowgirl: After reading and some digesting, I thought I would add a couple of thoughts. I think its very fair if you don’t like Kerry White’s politics and particular positions. I also do not think its a problem if you are critical of Greg’s contributions (which are an open book) based on you disagreeing with the groups on the list. First problem though, is that Greg’s foundation, I understand is fairly new, created after he sold out to Oracle. Criticisms that he his hiding something I do not think is fair, quite the contrary, he has and I am guessing will continue to be in favor of public disclosure “to the max.” He is far more advanced in public disclosure than almost anybody out there, and if you want to be more honest about the situation, you should acknowledge that. If you want to dig deeper, fine, but in fairness, should not the same attention on public disclosure be applied across the board?? Second, with regard to one of the actions that one of the Groups that Greg gave to, in this case PERC, you take two and two, add them together, and get 20. If you want to use a stereotype, we back east think that half of Montana is like the “refuge standoff” people. It is very weak to pin that on Greg, but again, someone could have asked him what he thought about the underlying issue, but no one did, but you infer his position from a name on his donation list. VERY VERY WEAK.

    Its interesting to demonize, criticize, and dismiss a person (namely Greg) by a donation list. In this case, he would be also dismissed by the far right. Stern is part of NYU. NYU is out there as being one of the biggest and most liberal supporting institutions in NY (I know, I went there). It actively supports all LGBT issues with many organizations and events. It has some of the most liberal economics staff in the country. To a degree that even Montana, being mostly “lilly white” would not understand (for the most part), NYU supports black and minority issues, ghetto rap (you know killing police and raping women, etc.,), and other urban issues. The Spike Lee is a full professor there (though he does not have the academic credentials to be so, he certainly does have the real life creds).

    Sooooooo. One could take that in isolation, and based on the fairness criterion on this blog, fairly say: “Greg Gianforte, that no good, low life, Commie, liberal, red sucking piece of s***”. In reality, however, taken in total, I think that the majority of middle of the road people will look at the Foundations overall list of recipients, and observe that although it clearly shows a strain to Christian and family support issues (remember the First Amendment, everyone), that the foundation is charitable, respectful, and supportive, of a wide range of activities, way beyond Greg’s own personal beliefs. It would not be fair to say that Greg believes in everything that NYU believes, and it would also not be fair to pick a belief of any one other of the recipients, and demonize Greg for believing in that one off issue.

  9. One can always tell a canned response comment from the Gianforte campaign. The fact is, Greg Gianforte has been criticized by the Montana press for refusing to answer basic questions about his background, time and time again. If Gianforte’s campaign is so sensitive about the charge that they refuse to answer questions, why don’t they simply start answering them?!

    The Billings Gazette has remarked upon it.

    It appears the front-runner and best hope for the Montana Republicans’ gubernatorial bid, Greg Gianforte, through the Gianforte Family Foundation, has given plenty of money to organizations that share his beliefs.

    That’s a great thing. He has literally put his money where his mouth is.

    Except that his mouth isn’t saying much of anything. Or better stated: Gianforte is only talking about what Gianforte wants to talk about.

    He seems to be a candidate for governor until you really get down to brass tacks, and then he’s just exploring a run. But exploring feels a lot like campaigning without the transparency or accountability.

    Cowgirl and Pogreba have remarked on it

    Keith Allen’s oped in the Great Falls Tribune has remarked upon it:

    When asked about Right to Work legislation, Gianforte dodged the question and simply stated that imposing Right to Work on private-sector unions wasn’t one of his top priorities. That answer is very telling.

    The Missoula Independent has remarked upon it

    It’s also worth noting that before he became a candidate, Gianforte himself gave over half a million dollars to the Montana Family Foundation, which fought against the Montana Disclose Act. Disclose put stricter campaign finance controls on so-called dark money groups—nonprofit organizations who funnel cash from unknown donors to political campaigns—including Americans for Prosperity, to which Gianforte also donated. If he is against the influence of money on Montana politics, it is an issue on which he has recently changed his mind.

    But it’s hard to know, because he declined to speak to reporters after his rally in Helena last Thursday. Clearly, he welcomed coverage of his no-PAC pledge, or he wouldn’t have opted for hand delivery. Yet he refused to answer questions about it, including from the Indy during a stop later that day in Missoula.

    He similarly declined to speak to reporters at other appearances around Montana. As Sally Mauk put it on Montana Public Radio, “He announced by barnstorming the state, hoping the press would cover all his stops, but also not wanting the press to ask him any questions.”

    Montana Public Radio has remarked upon it:

    Reporters at the kick-off campaign event followed Gianforte around after his remarks, but he refused to answer questions.

    • Hello YCR: Thanks, however, I can’t address all the errors in your reply in a reasonably long post. One: I addressed specific items in the original article. I took time to read it and try to post a relevant response, not “canned”. This to me brings into your question your understanding of the English language, or at least your ability to read honestly and critically. Second: You wrote: “If Gianforte’s campaign is so sensitive about the charge”. You have no information that my I had anything to do with the his campaign. You stated so, however, without qualification as fact. Your are very willing to state something that you do not know to be true, as if it were. “The truth” is not of concern to you. I have never been a part of any campaign, fyi. Are you?

      Three: You post references, as if you proved something with a link on to someone else’s opinion. They are ALL opinion pieces, however. You proved NOTHING, except that there are other hit articles (opinion pieces) out there on Greg. Four: Greg’s campaign is about 5 weeks old, formally. I think it would be fair to give it time to develop answers on topics outside of his “core” issues. Regarding religion, however, he state that he will not publicly get into detail about his beliefs; he wants to be governor of ALL people, and would respect each religion equally. He is correct, there is a line of intolerant anti-religion question out there. There is enough out there on the general beliefs of fundamentalist Christians. There is no need to answer in more detail. If you doubt he will be fair to other religions, that would be the case that might be made, but I do not think you can honestly make it.

  10. My comment is awaiting moderation?

  11. Thanks for freeing my comment.

  12. How do these nut jobs like Kerry White get elected? Is it because reasonable people are not paying attention? At one point I thought White was a reasonable person, but not any more. Thanks for the info on him and keep up the work on the GiantFarte campaign.

  13. Yahoo! I just love it when PERC gets poo on their scholarly boots. The study in question is gussied, bogus and lacks apparent genuine peer review. It is published nowhere credible. It includes one or two remarks about the astronomical cost of western firefighting which no single state could afford on its own. And zero information about the USFS workforce of 30,000 people who quietly and apolitically perform the actual work of managing western forests, roads, streams, campgrounds etc with less and less dollars every year. If BigKochInc and friends paid their fines and taxes maybe USFS could open some gates and roads and administer some much needed maintenance – thus providing local jobs for brush piling, thinning, trail clearing and so forth. It’s a concept. The remaining scraggly trees aren’t worth beans in this economy. Bur somehow this is all the fault of the hankyhead enviros. Oops. Call Paul Ryan and ask for a budget. Better yet send a case of prunes. BTW someone with authority totally and professionally dismantled the PERC ‘Divided Lands’ article a while back. I’ll look for it.

  14. Let’s get serious about all this expensive and pervasive misinformation about public lands making the rounds. The various analysts of some professional papers (and comments to Congressional staff) do not seem to have much positive criticism to offer. Here’s a bit on the public-lands-transfer paper from “Divided Lands: State vs Federal Management in the West” that appeared earlier this thread. It seems whenever another armed “militia” public lands demand make the news (as they did lately in a big way at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge) this paper appears front and center on the website, where it originated. It also pops up in other outlets, including the websites of the Heartland and Cato Institutes and the American Lands Council, among others. Portions of it also appear in written testimony presented to the House of Representatives. Which is rather daring. Bitly shortcut link:
    ““Examining the Federal Estate: Options for Better Management and More Control”

    If I were the supervisors of these bright young writers I would be embarrassed for their sake if their material went out without being properly balanced, reviewed and edited.

    Here is another analysis of “Divided Lands: State vs. Federal Management in the West” Compiled by in-house staff at, in Bozeman, MT titled:
    “A Closer Look at the Flawed Talking Point that States are the Best Land Managers”

    The commentary is from the Center for Western Priorities, in Utah, by Noah Caldwell, April 21, 2015. “The group is also a longtime proponent of the outright privatization of our national public lands. In 1999, PERC founder Terry Anderson authored a paper called “How and Why to Privatize Federal Lands.” Just last year, Anderson followed it up with an op-ed asserting, “It’s time to consider privatization rather than more politicization of federal lands. We could start by selling off millions of acres of grazing lands. . . While there are valid debates to be had about proper land management, privatization of national public lands is an extreme position—not to mention an unpopular one. Sixty-nine percent of Westerners oppose selling public lands to address budget deficits, while a whopping 96 percent support protecting natural areas for future generations.”

    Another analysis from another angle:
    “But “economic impact analyses” shrug off this central economic tenet that costs and benefits need to be weighed. These very peculiar “economic” analyses typically describe economic ventures as having only benefits and no costs for the local community. But the corruption of the basic insights of economics goes even further, and transforms things that both businesses and economists would usually label costs and simply re-labels them as benefits. . . The “analyst” simply presents an array of pure benefits to the community and implicitly suggests that it would be irrational not to embrace and approve such a free lunch.” [See Fretwell & Regan Divided Lands]
    Tom Power Commentary: “The Public Relations Misuse of the Language of Economics”
    MTPRadio Jan 31, 2013

    It is good that these academic ideas are getting the transparent attention they deserve.

  15. Perhaps Mr Terry Anderson of PERC will take some time to read the comments following his recent piece in the New York Times. The Sagebrush Rebellion was, and its various incarnations continue to be, cartoonish failures. And now there is blood.
    “Federal Land Management has Been Disastrous”
    New York Times Jan 7, 2016

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