Tagged: Bob Wagner

Posted: March 18, 2014 at 6:08 am

A Line in the Sand

Montana Republicans have clarified a very important piece of party doctrine this week about which there had formerly been much confusion.  Yellowstone County Republicans turned away a congressional candidate from attending their annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner, clearing up once and for all what kind of behavior they consider to be racist and what they do not.

Here’s what you need to know:

When a person who is a candidate on the GOP ticket, who has no chance of being elected, makes national news for calling for another “Operation Wetback” and saying that only white people should be allowed to immigrate to the U.S., Montana Republicans will speak out against you in the press and bar you from their chicken dinner.

However, when an elected Republican official, donor, activist or leader in Montana makes a joke about how blacks like watermelon; or makes an Obama effigy on Halloween out of a pumpkin in blackface; or brings a bullet-ridden outhouse labeled “Obama Library” to the state convention’ or sells bumper stickers that say “Don’t Re-Nigg in 2012“; or calls the President a Kenyan; or wears a confederate flag, or says that the south was right during the civil war; or is a Klansman running for Congress; or is a federal judge who sends a racist email; or produces a documentary about how Obama’s secret plan is to start a race war; or distributes racist flyers about Indians; or is a county official who uses the n-word in his work emails; or choose Black History Month to send a racist flyer advertising the GOP Lincoln Day Dinner; or is a U.S. Senator and says “It’s a hell of a challenge” when asked by a constituent, “Senator Burns, how can you live back there in D.C., with all them n-words?”–this kind of thing is considered perfectly acceptable.  No criticism or denouncement is rendered and your presence is welcome.

Posted: November 15, 2013 at 7:36 am

Mike Miller Latest Republican Under Investigation

State Rep. Mike Miller (R-Helmville) is the latest Republican legislator under investigation for illegal campaign activity, the AP reported.

His name was found in a box of documents in a meth house which later became the subject of a brilliant work of national investigative journalism. In a full-hour exposé of Montana politics and the secretive right-wing group, PBS’s show Frontline revealed that a secret stash of incriminating documents has been found in a meth house, showing extensive communications between these and perhaps other legislative candidates and the American Traditions Partnership, and showing that the ATP was even preparing campaign material for them.

The list of others who could be investigated because documents and campaign materials with their names were found in the meth house includes–but is not limited to–current and former legislators Ed Butcher, Bob Wagner, Wendy Warburton, Jerry O’Neil, and Derek Skees. Rep. Dan Kennedy (R-Laurel) is already under investigation.

Miller announced the investigation on his own Facebook page, saying. “Well, before the press breaks the news, (or MT-Cowgirl), former MT Rep. John Ward has filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Political Practices over the 2010 primary, alleging coordination with Assembly Action Fund and ATP (WTP).” Screenshot.

He said he is “not commenting further at this time on the merits of my case.” Screenshot. However he added,

“One could wonder in the Kennedy case if a candidate buys something (paper) on sale at say WalMart and Staples has the same item at a higher price, just what is the fair market value of that item. Or if a candidate buys stamps at Costco at a 25 cent discount if Costco is making a corporate contribution to the candidate as it is less than the US Post Office charges which one could assume the CoPP would think was the “fair market value.”

Former Rep. Scott Mendenhall (R-Clancy) blamed the investigation on “More divisiveness out of the self-proclaimed ‘Business Republicans.’” Those alleged to have illegally coordinated with ATP are in the TEA Party camp.

Posted: October 20, 2013 at 9:14 pm

ATP’s Tangled Web May Snare Others

Montana’s head elections regulator ruled this week that American Tradition Partnership illegally coordinated with a GOP legislative candidate, Dan Kennedy R-Laurel.  Now, Montana’s top election regulator says he’s launching an investigation into other candidates ATP may have coordinated with.

ATP is the right-wing political attack group that was instrumental in bringing us the nation’s most bat-crap crazy state legislatures in 2011 and 2013. Kennedy’s primary opponent was but one of several GOP candidates who complained about ATPs activities to elect hard right-wingers over more moderate republicans.

As KUFM’s Dan Boyce reports, an investigation into illegal campaign activity

“is now expanding to include Continue reading

Posted: January 1, 2013 at 8:46 am

Cowgirl Blog’s Best and Worst of 2012

Happy New Year Cowgirl readers! Here are some of the highlights and lowlights that made 2012 so memorable–and these Cowgirl posts the year’s most read.


Best book by a GOP candidate:

When Republican gubernatorial hopeful Neil Livingstone admitted to the Associated Press this year that he was once “a guest on a yacht full of hookers in Monte Carlo,” few people realized that Livingstone is actually a leading authority on such matters.

Indeed, it turns out that Livingstone actually published a detailed instructional manual in 1997, which provides candid advice for world business travelers on how to solicit a high-quality prostitute.

This is not a joke.  This valuable handbook appears as a chapter within a greater literary work by Livingstone, a book entitled Protect Yourself in an Uncertain World” (Amazon, $3.39 used).  You can read the Cowgirl Blog’s review of Livinstone’s masterpiece here.


Worst TEA Party call to action:

As a child I learned that empty vessels make the most noise.  That rings especially true this year after a Montana TEA Party leader called for a boycott of all news. The TEA Party leader said the boycott was needed because news agencies in Billings and elsewhere “are complicit in the destruction of America.”


Most hypocritical speech of 2012:

The award for this year’s Most Hypocritical Speech goes to Congressman Steve Daines. The congressman’s speech at the RNC lionized his ancestor as not being “Saved by Government” when that ancestor received a huge government handout in the form of a homestead under a federal program called the Homestead Act.


Best way to dispose of a TEA Party imbecile, for good:

Part of what has made Governor Brian Schweitzer one of the most popular governors in America is his ability to stand up to the TEA Party. This made How to Dispose of a Tea Party Imbecile, For Good one of 2012′s most popular posts.


Montana’s stalest political cliches:

Two hackneyed phrases sucked the last shred meaning out of Montana political pablum this year more than any others.

The phrase “double down” became so overused in Montana politics that anyone who hears or reads it now doubles over.  Enough already.

And any time you hear a politician propose, “a uniquely Montana solution,” notice that the cliche is never followed by an actual example of what that solution might be.  Everyone knows that the people spewing this nonsense are doing so to disguise the fact they they have no actual solutions to offer.  Offenders, you know who you are.


Best example of ridiculous Fox News lies:

Fox News this week called the Westboro Baptist Church a “left-wing cult” in their story about the group’s protests of the Newtown shooting victims’ funerals. As the Atlantic Wire asks, “if these people are “left-wing,” just how far “right” is Fox News?


Most outlandish conspiracy theories: 

A Montana legislator is behind both of 2012′s dumbest conspiracy theories.  Chair of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Krayton Kerns (R-Laurel) this year authored the conspiratorial screed on how birth control is the “death nail in the coffin of our Republic”. He also made national headlines after the Cowgirl blog uncovered his belief that the relocation of 60 bison — which he blamed on Walt Disney’s movie “Bambi” — could lead to $25 a gallon gas prices as part of a liberal government plot.


Worst movie of the year:

Kalispell movie producer Gerald Molen can’t figure out why the Academy overlooked this high quality of this piece of fine art.  Perhaps because is is actually one of the single most oppressively embarrassing movies ever made, reaching levels of galling unwatchability.  Meanwhile, the director and writer of the movie, and the author of the book on which it is based, has been caught with his pants down.



Posted: December 7, 2012 at 7:42 am

Meeting of the Minds

In a little over a month, legislators from across Montana will descend on Helena to make the laws you must live by.  Let’s meet them.

1-Rep. David Howard (R-TEA Park City), Chair of the House Human Services Committee. Rep. Howard is on the record saying he believes a Civil War is imminent 

2-A FRONTLINE documentary reported that documents found in a meth house indicate potentially illegal collusion between a secretive right-wing group and Republican candidates. Files on Dan Kennedy, Wendy Warburton, Mike Miller, Ed Butcher, Bob Wagner, Joel Boniek, Jerry O’Neil and Derek Skees were found so far.

3-Rep. Roger Webb (R-Billings). This recently elected GOP-er was convicted of shooting his neighbors dogs to death. It was reported in MT’s largest newspaper.

4-We now have a legislator with ties to the militia movement. Yes, Sen. Jennifer Fielder (R-TEA Sanders County) was elected and will serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

5-Then there is the GOP legislator who when called by the press about a former UM student who accused him of sexual assault, handed the phone to his mom. Rep. Nicolas Schwaderer  (R-Missoula Mineral) denies the allegations.  He has also threatened a defamation suit against anybody making “slanderous statements” against him. It is not known at this time whether mom will be coming to Helena with Rep. Schwaderer.

 6-Rep. Jerry O’Neil (R-TEA Columbia Falls) demanded to be paid for his legislative acts in gold and silver. O’Neil has been ridiculed for his request in the national press.  But recall that last session, half of the House of Representatives voted for Wagner’s bill to require the state of Montana to conduct all business in gold and silver. This includes current GOP Speaker of the House Mark Blasdel and Republican House Majority Leader Gordon Vance and many, many others who are back this session.

7-And let’s not forget Rep. Wendy Warburton and Rep. Kris Hansen (both of Havre) who co-hosted an event with former Gov. Judy Martz to tell Montanans that the War on Women is made up.   Warburton has an explanation for the lack of GOP women candidates. She said a couple of years back, that “the biggest reason that more women who are Republicans don’t get into politics is because we are the pro-family party.” Yes ladies, GOP women are home raising kids like the women of the pro-family party should be.

8-After I first blogged it here, the Chair of the MT House Judiciary Committee TEA Party Republican Krayton Kerns (R-TEA Laurel) was featured in a popular Huffington Post story for his blog post claiming that moving some bison will “topple the Republic” and lead to $25/gallon gas prices.  This month, Kerns’ concern is the “imminent collapse of society.

9-The newest member of the MT House Education committee will be an interesting addition.  Republican Rep. Sarah Laszloffy, age 19, is an alum of the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, where students of all ages come to learn how to live  ”a supernatural lifestyle.” (And you thought Republicans opposed alternative lifestyles.  Not true!)

According to the school’s website, Rep. Laszloffy and her fellow students learned how to “live the Bible,” —including useful skills such as “how to cast out demons” and other practical solutions to life’s most pressing problems. Bethel’s members also  purport to have the ability to heal people through prayer and bring the dead back to life.

Perhaps the ability to bring people back from the dead will be useful.  Former legislator turned Public Service Commissioner Roger Koopman threatened that if his fellow GOP legislators didn’t stop criticizing him, “Republican blood will flow in the streets.”

10-The outgoing GOP House Majority Leader, Tom McGillvray (R-TEA Billings). McGillvary tweeted (from his official Twitter account) that President Obama must release his college records so as to prove that he was not a “foreign exchange student” while he studied at Columbia and Harvard. McGillvray is termed out and his term will end this month.


Posted: December 5, 2012 at 6:59 am

Nuggets of Wisdom

Birther Bob Wagner is back.

Jerry O'Neil
Rep. Jerry O’Neil (R-TEA Columbia Falls)
Montana Representative "Birther" Bob Wagner
Former Rep. “Birther” Bob Wagner (R-Harrison)

The former GOP state legislator from Harrison penned a guest editorial in the Flathead Beacon defending the Republican legislator who demanded to be paid for his time in gold and silver.

Is your state Legislature and state employees hostile to the concept of equal protection under the law? Our public servants take an oath to protect this concept under the Constitution. Columbia Falls Rep. Jerry O’Neil poses a question more valuable than “gold.” Is the protection of the value of labor exclusive to government employees only?

O’Neil has been ridiculed for his request in the national press.  But recall that last session, half of the House of Representatives voted for Wagner’s bill to require the state of Montana to conduct all business in gold and silver. This includes current GOP Speaker of the House Mark Blasdel and Republican House Majority Leader Gordon Vance and many, many others who are back this session.

Birther Bob’s editorial also explains his belief that a sound penion system for public employees (as required by the Montana Constitution) is “nothing more than theft and discrimination.” Read the whole thing at the Flathead Beacon.


Posted: November 2, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Some Folks Might be Heading to the Pokey in Montana

In a brilliant piece of investigative journalism, the PBS show Frontline has revealed the seedy underbelly of secret money in elections, with a full-hour expose of Montana politics and a secretive right-wing group known as American Tradition Partnership, or ATP.

Numerous Republican candidates might have worked too closely with ATP, and could be in trouble legally if not electorally.  They might be going to the pokey (meaning the clink, the one in Deer Lodge.)

The short story is that the 2010 election, in which the Tea Party swept into control of the Montana legislature, may have featured massive illegalities.   Under state law, third party groups, the ones like American Tradition Partnership which spend masses of unregulated, unreported money, are legally barred from coordinating with candidates.  But several legislative candidates and the ATP have been caught red handed, working together, in violation of the law.  The Frontline documentary reveals that a secret stash of incriminating documents has been found, showing extensive communications between Republican legislative candidates and the ATP, and showing that the ATP was even preparing campaign material for them.

Wendy Warburton's behavior should be investigatedThe Havre Daily News, for example, reported today that GOP legislator Wendy Warburton appears to have been in direct communication with the group, even going so far as to send them a “signature stamp,” presumably so they could send out mailings on her behalf, using her signature.  That’s likely to be found illegal under Montana law.

Files on Mike Miller, Ed Butcher, Bob Wagner, Joel Boniek, Jerry O’Neil and Derek Skees were also featured on Frontline.  Again, groups and candidates cannot coordinate on campaign communications.

Candidates might be subjecting themselves to a range of penalties, including removal from office, fines, or worse.  The question is whether there is a prosecutor out there who is willing to begin looking into this stuff.  Generally, county attorneys stay away from political stuff, leaving it to the Commissioner of Political Practices.

Worse, the ATP’s headquarters is revealed by the documentary to be nothing more than a P.O. Box at a UPS store in Washington DC, even though the group is spending tens of millions of dollars on elections around the country and is the most influential source of money in Montana politics.  They were estimated to have spent well over a million bucks on just a handful of state legislative races in 2010.  They’d send mail to voters, which looked very much like electioneering material, something that is illegal if you are hiding who your donors are.

Not all ATP’s donors have been able to hide.  Investigative journalist Paul Abowd this week uncovered a document that revealed one of ATP’s largest bankrollers-a Colorado anti-union group called Coloradans for Economic Growth.

And I would say that this documentary, above all, is an outright humiliation for the Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who this summer rejected a request by Montana to reconsider the Citizens United ruling in light of the ATP’s shady, unreported, anonymously funded activities in Montana.  In rejecting Montana’s plea, Kennedy offered a single paragraph describing why he (the swing vote on the court) was refusing to consider the matter. He wrote that there was nothing that led him to believe that the ATP’s activities could lead to “corruption or the appearance of corruption.”

Kennedy, if he watched Frontline this week, probably wishes he could have that one back.  Because he is now revealed to be not a brilliant jurist but a stupid old man, who got duped by a bunch of bad actors.  Soon, groups like ATP will completely own our state and federal governments, using corporate money, installing candidates into office, from a P.O. Box, never revealing who the donors are.  And the Supreme Court  believes that this is all perfectly okay.


Posted: July 3, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Another Montana Republican Inducted into Wingnut Hall of Fame

Several of Montana’s TEA Party Republican legislators have made names for themselves in the national news–as laughingstocks anyway.

Yesterday, Rep. Krayton Kerns (R-Laurel) added himself to that list.  TEA Party Republican Krayton Kerns was featured in a popular Huffington Post story  yesterday for his blog post claiming that moving some bison will “topple the Republic” and lead to $25/gallon gas prices.

The story was first reported last week here at the Montana Cowgirl Blog.

Other inductees include GOP Rep. Alan Hale (R-Basin) who said that DUIs laws are destroying small business was featured on MSNBC (VIDEO here.) Rep. “Birther” Bob Wagner (R-Madison County) has appeared on CNN‘s Anderson Cooper 360 to discuss his belief that President Obama is not a U.S. citizen, and Rep. Joe Read (R-Ronan) was featured on the Colbert Report for his legislative resolution declaring that global warming is good. Then there was Derek Skees, Rep. from Whitefish who proposed that Montana “nullify” all federal laws.  Rep. Greg Hinkle (R-Thompson Falls) was mocked on Fox News, as was GOP Sen. Jim Peterson, for his frivolous bill to put the “Code of the West” into Montana law and for his proposal to make spear hunting legal.  And there’s David Howard, the legislator whose Facebook page is devoted entirely to anti-gay rhetoric, and Tom Burnett, that programs to combat hunger are not needed in America because we have so many fat children.  And let’s not forget our Congressman, who says that the EPA is using drones to spy on ranchers.  I’m sure I’m missing some others….there are so many…..


Posted: June 12, 2012 at 10:36 pm

How to Dispose of a Tea Party Imbecile, For Good

Bye Bye, Birther

Bob Wagner, Montana Republican LegislatorLast week, we saw the demise of a right wing lunatic.

You may remember Bob Wagner, the Montana state legislator, for his appearance on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 in which he defended his special birther bill which would have forbidden President Obama from appearing on the Montana ballot in 2012.

Wagner was indeed riding high two years ago, swept into office on the 2010 Tea Party wave and happily making an ass of himself in the Montana legilsature, going on national talk shows with his nutty ideas, speaking at Tea Part rallies, sponsoring crazy bills (in addition to his birther bill, he tried to reintroduce the Gold Standard), and generally being an ass.  But Wagner did not know that he would walk into a trap, in which he would be ensared and hoisted and which would end his political career. He would be unable to chew his leg off to free himself.

Like a good Tea Partier, Wagner voted against every single appropriation of money put forward by the legislature, including a bill that arrived on Governor Brian Schweitzer’s desk last April which contained grant money for local communities (including Wagner’s district), for things like sewer upgrades, fire department repairs, and the like.

Schweitzer–who is known to enjoy mixing it up with right-wingers–saw an angle.  He noticed that Wagner had voted against the bill.  So, Schweitzer used his “line item veto” power and selectively crossed out the funds that would have gone to Wagner’s district.  Schweitzer did this to several legislators who voted against the grant bill, stating as he deleted the items that if Wagner and others voted against the bill, then their constituents must not have expressed much interest in getting the money.

Montana Representative "Birther" Bob WagnerBut as you might expect, community leaders in Wagner’s district hadn’t even been aware that Wagner had voted against it.  For when he voted against the bill, Wagner had been on a frolic of his own, and not representing the interests of his district.  Wagner figured that the bill would pass anyway, and so he could flex his Tea Party biceps while knowing that Democrats and moderate Republicans would turn in sufficient votes so that the grant bill would survive.

But he hadn’t counted on Schweitzer calling out his bullshit.

When the folks in Wagner’s district learned of Wagner’s vote and of the consequent loss of funds, they were outraged.  Wagner then tried to save face by suing Schweitzer, claiming that the item veto had been illegal.  Well, that didn’t go over very well with the Tea Partiers who reside in Wagner’s district, because they don’t think Government should ever spend money at all.

So Wagner ended up in the headlines, first proudly decrying government spending, then being revealed as having denied his district important funds, and finally suing the Governor to try to get more government spending for his district.

Alas, caught in these crosscurrents, the flimsy hypocrite Wagner was beaten last week in his GOP primary, by a Republican moderate (or at least what passes for a moderate in Madison County, Montana) who used all of these points against him very skillfully and vocally.

Goodbye, Birther Bob.

Posted: June 6, 2012 at 7:29 am

A Look at the Primary Election Results

Congratulations are in order to Kim Gillan and Pam Bucy who have won their respective primaries for Congress and Attorney General.

But that’s not the only good news.

Republicans have nominated Brad Johnson for Secretary of State. Johnson has battled alcoholism for many years, has had a few DUIs, and has been in and out of rehab recently (in 2008, he even campaigned from a rehab facility toward the end of the SOS race last time). Notably, in the article reporting on his announcement for office, he was unable to state a single reason why the current SOS, Linda McCulloch, should be replaced. Not a good start. He also says that he currently works as a “consultant”, although it is unclear who, if anyone, is paying him for his consultations. The nomination of such a weak candidate is good news for Democrats and for all those who don’t believe in the voter suppression tactics frequently championed by Republicans.

In the legislative races, congratulations to Helena’s Jenny Eck, who defeated two primary opponents for the open seat left when Mike Menahan decided not to run.  Here are a few other interesting legislative results:

Incumbents Taken Out

Incumbents are difficult to defeat and are rarely taken out.  It’s a lot easier when that incumbent becomes a laughing stock on national television. DUI promoter Alan Hale was taken out by primary opponent Kirk Wagoner 863 to 813.  Birther Bob Wagner was defeated by Ray Shaw in Madison County 1040-991.

Crackpots Advance

In Park City, nutjob TEA Party hatemonger David Howard somehow surpassed his two primary challengers by a wide margin.

In Sanders County, TEA Partier Jennifer Fielder (here’s her flyer) defeated the saner Rick Seeman. Feilder seems to have focused her campaign on the fact that her opposent was at one time employed by the government.   GOPers have also nominated the legislature’s largest recipient of government funds, TEA Partier Janna Taylor, over Republican Carmine Mowbray for Senate District 6.

More Good News for Democrats

Brad Johnson isn’t the only good news for Dems.   In the Laurel House races, supernatural scholar Sarah Laszloffy defeated main streat Republican Debra Bonogofsky, giving an edge to Democratic candidate Sean Whiting for that seat.

Corporate Money Wins

A secret list of corporations succeeded in electing State Senate TEA Party candidate Dee Brown over Republican Bill Beck in the Flathead. The corporations behind the so-called American Traditions Partnership are fighting Montana’s clean election laws in the U.S. Supreme Court.  Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock is defending Montana against ATP in that case.  Meanwhile, another corporate front group with secret donors has purchased the Montana Supreme Court race for $41,000.  TEA Party Republican Jason Priest’s shadow group succeeded in advancing right-winger Laurie McKinnon over Elizabeth Best.

I’m interesting in hearing your thoughts on the primaries and your takes on other races I didn’t get to here.  Please consider this a primary election open forum.