Tag Archives: 2010 MT-AL

MT TEA Party Lawsuit Part of National Religious Right-Wing GOP Strategy

The Helena IR reported yesterday that the Billings “Montana Shrugged” TEA Party faction is suing the state to invalidate Montana laws that regulate sunshine in campaign  spending and reporting in politics.

The lawsuit, filed with the help of the James Madison Center for Free Speech in Terre Haute, Ind., says Montana laws requiring various financial reporting by political committees are unconstitutionally vague and should not apply to groups like Montana Shrugged.

Just who is the out-of-state “James Madison Center for Free Speech”?  It is backed and lead by the conservative and religious right-wing of the national Republican Party.

Indeed, one of  [the group's leaders James] Bopp’s greatest sources of funding emerged when Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) embraced Bopp and his cause of campaign finance deregulation and helped him set up his own nonprofit litigation center — the James Madison Center for Free Speech — in 1996, on which McConnell agreed to serve as the honorary chairman.

The group’s leader, James Bopp Jr., is a Republican-backed lawyer who’s fought campaign finance laws for 30 years.  In fact, he’s the guy that filed the suit that led to last January’s Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited corporate influence on elections.

Once again, the so-called “local TEA Party movement” is just a pawn of a national Republican movement to obliterate transparency in campaign spending.

In fact, the Kansas City Star reports that this same entity is now challenging laws in at least a dozen states that have disclosure laws like Montana: including California, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Ohio, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

And finally, all this garbage about how the TEA Party is supposedly not to be interested in social issues must finally be put to rest.

Pro-Rehberg Garbage In the Mail

Thought you might like this mailer that landed last week from the Safari Club. (Apparently they like to shoot gorillas and polar bears and have the taxpayers subsidize their hunting trips with a tax write-off, according to their Wikipedia listing).

The ammo ban vicious rumor stems from a petition to the EPA last summer, which EPA promptly shot down because they have no jurisdiction.  It was all over the talk radio mouth-breather circuit, and is referenced here.  So again it’s a non-issue fear-mongering mailer of no substance, but we should still vote for Rehberg because of it?  Really this fake conspiracy is the best pro-Rehberg argument out there?  Pathetic.

Garbage Conspiracy False Mail Side TwoHere’s the mailer.Garbage Conspiracy False Mail Side One

Rehberg DOH! Moment: McDonald Ad Catches Karl Rove’s Attention

Word is that Dennis McDonald’s recent television ad, Millionaire, has started to gain some notoriety among the Republican elite.  Here’s the ad:

According to a McDonald press release, a source within the Republican Party says that Karl Rove has acknowledged that he’s seen Dennis McDonald’s ad and made the comment, “Yes, I’ve already seen this ad, our guy in Montana seems to have a problem with his drinking…”    McDonald’s press release did not name the source, but this does not surprise me in the least.

Rove was reportedly referring to Republican Congressman Dennis Rehberg’s inappropriate behavior and drinking problem.

Rehberg has had numerous problems with drinking in public during his 6 terms as Montana’s lone Congressman, as the release reports.

Back in 2004, Rehberg was rumored to have been drunk and fell off his horse during a state visit to Kazakhstan.  Not only did he fall off his horse and injure himself, but he called the native people “cone heads” while making alien noises, as in the famous Saturday Night Live sketches.  A member of the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan reported the incident.

In 2008, according to the Washington Post, Rehberg passed out drunk at the Tune Inn, a dive bar in Washington, D.C. and reportedly slept on a cot in the basement of the bar.

In 2006, according to Roll Call magazine, Rehberg was drunk and took part in a bar room brawl that involved the Missoula police.  Rehberg’s staff was also part of the drunken brawl.

Finally, in 2009, the McDonald release states, “Rehberg boarded a boat after he had been drinking (the police report disclosed that he had a blood-alcohol level of .05, four hours after the accident) and instructed his staff members join him on the boat.  While State Senator Barcus was driving the boat drunk, the boat crashed and launched up on the rocky shore.  Rehberg’s drunkenness and poor personal conduct resulted in injuries to himself and several of his staff members, who were seriously hurt.”

Rehberg’s Fundraising Report

Denny Rehberg’s campaign fundraising and expense report has just come out, and it looks like Denny might have gone on another bender.

The report contains enormous sums of food and drink expense entries like “Montana Lil’s Casino-$95” or “Congressional Liquor–$25”, or “Capitol Grille, $1795.” All in all, entertainment seems to account for about 75% of the quarter million dollars spent this cycle. The Cat’s Paw, Choppers Pub and Grub, Bucks T4.  It goes on and on.  Truth is I don’t blame Denny. Why not enjoy yourself if you haven’t a competitive race?  About $10K was spent at “Cash Creek Casino Resort” in Brooks, California.

But the big ticket item is $23,000 for a blowout at Spanish Peaks resort, which is especially strange given that there was a similar event at Spanish Peaks, for a similar price tag, in an earlier campaign report. The best part of the Spanish Peaks thing is the dozen or so entries for $50 or $75 or like amounts, spent at the Conoco station at Big Sky on the same day as the big bash.  They probably ran out of beer at the fundraiser, and needed to take emergency action.

Erik Iverson, who is heading a new PAC that is attacking Democrats in legislative races, seems to be up to mischief, having received over $40,000 this quarter from Rehberg’s campaign war chest.  Lot’s of money is also shown going to a range of “consulting” firms most of which are located in the DC area, which could be for just about anything, including the outrageous push calls now circulating around the state and aimed at Democratic legislative candidates. Also a lot of money paid to “Special Projects” listed at 400 N. California, Helena, MT. Unclear what that entity is.

And once again, Rehberg spent pretty much everything he raised. This is a bizarre phenomenon that has recurred over several quarterly periods, and makes no sense at all. I did offer an explanation a while back that perhaps Rehberg is simply pre-paying his obligations for a run for Governor, using federal money since he isn’t allowed to carry any of that over into a gubernatorial race.  Certainly if he’s running against Tester, he’d be saving every nickel since he could use his House war chest for a Senate run.  Tester would be a formidable opponent, perhaps Rehberg’s already ducked out.  Very strange doings. Stay tuned to this blog for more analysis in this regard; you won’t find any of this mentioned in Montana papers, because Rehberg has them in his pocket, and reporters are barred from covering interesting matters such as these.

McDonald Faces Rehberg in Home Field Debate Tonight

Tonight, Dennis McDonald, Democratic challenger for Montana’s congressional seat, will take on GOP incumbent Dennis Rehberg, at a debate at the Montana Farmers Union Annual Meeting, held at 4:00p.m. at the Heritage Inn, 1700 Fox Farm Road, Great Falls. Dennis McDonald has invited supporters from across the state to a pre-debate rally 2:30 p.m. at the same location.

A hot topic of the debate is expected to be the issue of opening up new markets for Montana producers.  New markets like Cuba would mean new jobs for Montana’s agricultural producers and farmers who make up Montana’s largest industry.

Lifting the travel ban and readjusting the payment terms for exports to Cuba would increase U.S. agricultural exports by more than $360 million annually, generating 6,000 domestic jobs and a $1 billion boost to the U.S. economy. This would be a tremendous help to Montana’s agricultural producers that will grow our state’s economy and create jobs in our rural communities.

Dennis has long been a leader in addressing agriculture and trade issues critical to Montana’s farmers and ranchers. He pushed for laws such as the Country of Origin Labeling Act and the Montana Certified Natural Beef Program. He also founded the Beef-On-Every-Plate charity program, which has provided hundreds of thousands of meals to needy Montanans. His hard work led to his appointment in 1998 to the President’s International Trade Advisory Committee for Livestock, for which he traveled extensively through the western hemisphere. In this role he fought against the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which he felt placed Montana farmers and ranchers at a competitive disadvantage.

He also lead efforts to raise Montana’s minimum wage in 2006. Under his leadership, he made sure the Dems were key players in helping this pass, directing organizing staff and volunteers to collect signatures.

His vocal role as an advocate for the Ag community-he is founder of R-CALF, a national progressive ag organization-led to greater involvement in state politics when, in 2005, he was chosen chairman of Montana’s Democratic party. His efforts to revitalize the party, particularly in rural areas all over the state, helped to elect Democrat Jon Tester to the U.S. Senate in 2006.

McDonald also knows what it’s like to face true hard times. Early in his life his family lost their home in Kansas and moved to northern California to start over. To pay for college, he worked summer jobs in a cannery as a member of the Teamsters Union and as a Forest Service firefighter.

Crocodile Tears from a Republican Operative

In the opinion section of this morning’s Montana Standard, Austin James, calling himself a “young voter in America”  has placed a well-written letter claiming that Montana Democratic Congressional Candidate Dennis McDonald “unfriended” him on Facebook after he posted something about “leaning toward Rehberg” in the upcoming election.

On the Draft Taylor Brown for Governor Facebook page, Mr. James currently serves as an “executive for the University of Montana College Republicans.”  He’s lauded on this site for his hard work for McCain and for his paid footwork in Minnesota on behalf of Norm Coleman.

U of M Students School the Helena IR

Want to be an informed voter and responsible citizen by reading information about candidates and elections, but find that your address ends with the words Helena, MT (the capitol city, yet paradoxically the black hole of any political news and candidate information courtesy of Randy Rickman, Helena IR Publisher)?  Look here instead.

It probably is no use remarking that the readers of other papers in other towns get legislative candidate surveys like this, while we in Helena get “Loud Pops Caused By Fireworks.

Rehberg Plan Would Shutter Yellowstone, Glacier Parks

Dennis Rehberg does not like getting asked tough questions.In the GOP Pledge to America, a so-called “promise” made by D.C. Denny Rehberg and his Washington cronies,  you’ll find glossy photographs of the American landscape, the great national parks and monuments like Mount Rushmore.

But what the Pledge to America doesn’t say is that it’s really more of a threat than a promise. If all of its provisions were to be enacted, then in a mere ten years, according to a leading economist, the federal government would have no money to maintain any of those beautiful places, which are key to Montana’s economy.

As Howard Gleckman, a Resident Fellow at the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, told NPR recently of Rehberg’s plan for national parks:

They’d be closed. Maybe we could sell them to Hilton or something. But essentially, they would be closed.