Tagged: Jason Priest

Posted: April 17, 2014 at 7:56 pm

Republican Email Circulating Takes Aim at TEA Party Legislators

An email making the rounds in Republican circles today urges GOPers to stop the TEA Party “from doing any further damage to our beloved Montana GOP.”

The email take particular issue with Art Wittich, Jason Priest, Matt Rosendale, and Tom Tuck and the Gallatin County Republican Central Committee, was forwarded on by a tipster.  It is pasted below in its entirety so you can decide what to make of it yourselves.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Concerned Montanans <montanansontheissues@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Apr 17, 2014 at 1:38 PM
Subject: Montanans on the Issues
To: montanansontheissues@gmail.com

Dear Concerned Montana Republicans,

Please boycott the Radical Tea Party members claiming to be Republicans and any future events they may have.

To find out why please read below: 

As many of you know radical Tea Party members are attempting to take over the Montana GOP and although we would agree on many of the issues they are promoting, the Tea Party has been taken over by criminals, liars, and cheats!!!

For example, the state political practices commissioner released findings on, Tuesday, April 1st, showing that Senate Majority Leader ART WITTICH violated the law by coordinating with Western Tradition Partnership and other entities to accept illegal corporate donations in his 2010 primary election campaign. THIS IS A FELONY CRIME!! Later that same day, Commissioner Jonathan Motl filed a civil complaint against ART WITTICH.

Is this someone we want our children looking up to?

For more information on ART WITTICH’s criminal activity please see the Billings Gazette article at:http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/commissioner-montana-senate-leader-broke-campaign-laws/article_03bef6a7-dc2f-513b-b7ba-4fb44a3d1de4.html

ART WITTICH and other GOP Central Committee members, claiming to be Republicans, such as TOM TUCK, the Gallatin County Republican Central Committee’s chair, also work very closely with JASON PRIEST whom was arrested last February on suspicion of partner family member assault and resisting arrest. Priest is also is a founder of a nonprofit group called Montana Growth Network which supports U.S. HOUSE Candidate MATT ROSENDALE.​

Is this someone we want out children looking up to?

To find out more pertaining to the coordination between JASON PRIEST and ART WITTICH click below:

http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/republican-senator-jason-priest-arrested/article_8e17b3a1-d8b4-5a44-aff2-3b8ce5ba08d6.html

What is the one thing all these criminals have in common, they all rabidly support, U.S. House Candidate, MATT ROSENDALE! The Gallatin County Republican Central Committee even held a vote last February, which TOM TUCK feverishly supported, to solely support MATT ROSENDALE and his criminal cronies in the primary election.

Please help stop these criminals from doing any further damage to our beloved Montana GOP by boycotting, not only the Central Committee’s like Gallatin County, but also all future events.

 THESE CRIMINALS ARE NOT THE LEADERS WE WANT OUR CHILDREN LOOKING UP TO!

 Thank you and God Bless!

Sincerely,

Montanans on the Issues

Posted: March 14, 2014 at 7:16 am

Wittich Tells Whoppers; Trashes Mainstreet GOP Member

Art Wittich, sick and tired of serving the public.
Art Wittich, TEA Party state senator

On March 4th, Rep. Jesse O’Hara, a longtime Montana GOP pro-jobs, pro-mainstreet legislator, wrote a thoughtful piece standing up for teachers, schools, and rural healthcare, and criticized the Tea Party Extremists in his own party as a bunch of hijackers, singling out a few individuals such as Art Wittich.

In the piece, he writes:

Somewhere along the way, extremists have anointed themselves the arbiters of all things Republican. The failed leadership team of Sens. Art Wittich and Jason Priest, along with their mouthpieces, Jeff Essmann and Edward Walker, illustrated their 10-year plan to purge the party in a series of leaked emails….

….The Republican Party I began with would never gut Montana services so brutally that classrooms are crowded, schools are shuttered, roads aren’t paved, predators walk the streets, rural health care disappears and infrastructure collapses…

Predictably, Art Wittich this week responded with a vitriolic personal attack on O’Hara, belittling O’Hara for being a teacher “who leaves his beach chair only to collect his teacher’s pension and state healthcare benefits.”  Wittich also makes the sketchy and borderline-racist claim that anyone in Montana who does not have health insurance is “able but not willing to work.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are about 150,000 Montanans without health insurance–and 100,000 of these are employed. Another 32,000 are not actually in the labor force–that’s because they either aren’t old enough to have a job, are retired, are a stay at home parent, or disabled, or in the military. Only 13%–20,000 of the uninsured–are without work, and unless Wittich has asked every single one of those people whether or not they are willing to and looking for work, well….

Wittich also says that moderates like O’Hara joined Democrats in legislature to give Title X planning funds “to Planned Parenthood to perform abortions.”  In fact, the federal government provides money to family planning clinics, like Planned Parenthood, local county clinics, and others, so that women and men who do not have health insurance can get care at reduced rates, or in some cases free, depending on their family income at the time of their visit. Title X allows these clinics to supplement birth control, breast and cervical cancer screening, testicular cancer screening for men, and other reproductive health services.

This program does not pay for abortion care. It is against federal law for the funds to be used for abortions. From the Consolidated Appropriations Act, Pub. L. No. 108-7 (2003)

(“[A]mounts provided to said [Title X] projects under such title shall not be expended for abortions, that all pregnancy counseling shall be nondirective, and that such amounts shall not be expended for any activity (including the publication or distribution of literature) that in any way tends to promote public support or opposition to any legislative proposal or candidate for public office”). See also, 42 C.F.R. § 59.5 (Title X projects must “[n]ot provide abortion as a method of family planning”).

So what O’Hara might have said, that would have been fully accurate, is that Wittich is not only an extremist, but is also a liar, and an asshole.  I will say it here.

Posted: March 10, 2014 at 10:09 pm

Victoria’s Secret, and Race Eugenics: Right Wing Puts More Loons on the Ballot

At 5p.m. today the deadline passed for anybody seeking office in 2014.  And there was some action.

First, as the Flathead Memo reports, we have a new Republican candidate in the US Senate race, a woman named Susan Cundiff. As far as I can tell, she is the first Republican woman to run for U.S. Senate in MT. She also may be the first female Republican ever to run in a US Senate primary in Montana. I believe the first woman to run as Democrat for U.S. senate is Melinda Gohper. Cundiff works at the University and is currently a sales Associate for Victoria’s Secret.  In case you’re not a frequenter of malls, this is a lingerie store.

You’ve come a long way, GOP.

Roger Root racistMeanwhile, a man named Roger Root, a convicted felon and proud racist who authored a website entitled  “The Respectable Racist: 100 Things You Didn’t Know About Black People,” also entered the Senate race today. With his resume, RogerRootRacist2including overt, ugly racism, bordering on eugenics and a few felony convictions including some on gun charges, I expect him to be very successful in attracting many Tea Party votes, stealing them from Steve Daines.

Embattled TEA Party Sen. Jason Priest, who faces four criminal charges, did not file, so the senate seat he would have run in will have a GOP primary between two current house TEA Partiers. Local Republicans will have the pleasure of deciding between David Howard and Joanne Blyton.  Howard is a man who has, somewhat obsessively, devoted his Facebook page to criticizing gay sex. So of course, the GOP picked to lead the Children and Families legislative committee last session. Howard will face off against Red Lodge Republican Joanne Blyton. Blyton is a birther who actually voted for Birther Bob’s birther bill. (You can see a pdf of HB 205, the birther bill, vote here.) Yes, that’s the same bill that later made the Montana Legislature famous on CNN.  

Speaking of birthers, in Ravalli County there is a GOP primary in House District 85, between Theresa Manzella, a woman who likes birther videos on Youtube [screenshot], and Mike Jeffords of Victor.

Former judge Nels Swandal is actually running for the state legislature in Livingston’s SD 30 against Democratic candidate Mary Murphy–in spite of reports of alleged Judicial Code of Ethics violations which were reported in Montana papers across the stateduring the last election cycle. The allegations involve a fundraising letter sent out on ultra-conservative judicial candidate Laurie McKinnon’s behalf,  paid for by Laurie McKinnon’s campaign, from Nels Swandal while he was a sitting judge, which the judicial code of ethics says is not permitted.

On Swandal’s political views, the Billings Gazette reported that Swandal said that questions posed by the Montana AFL-CIO to candidates “are among the most un-American ideas I’ve ever seen,” and that he wouldn’t seek endorsement of the Montana Conservation Voters “because of their assault on private property.”

Cleve Loney
Cleve Loney
Rep. Cleve Loney (with megaphone)
Rep. Cleve Loney (with megaphone)

And from Great Falls HD 21 there is Cleve Loney, the TEA Partier who most loves to dress in tricorn garb.   Loney is running again after the voters of Great Falls booted him in the 2012 elections.

Many Republicans this election cycle are facing primary opponents– by the pro-business and jobs wing of the state party who are fed up with the economic harm and incompetence perpetrated on the state by crackpots who don’t understand how the economy works.   The Lee Newspapers did an early write up of a few of these primaries a while back. There are several additional of this type who have filed since then. We’ll let the GOP figure out who they are.

A final note: I’m hearing that the Democrats have successfully fielded a candidate in every single state legislative district, both house and senate. That’s good news in what might otherwise be a tough year. Good work by the Montana Legislative Campaign Committee and kudos to all of the democratic candidates who stepped up to run. You can see the list here.

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Posted: February 14, 2014 at 6:58 am

TEA Party Republican, Dark Money Group Leader Charged with Felony Assault on 4-year-old Daughter

As KTVQ Billings reports, court documents “filed in Carbon County District Court by Assistant Attorney General Mary E. Cochenour, show Priest is accused of grabbing his 4-year-old daughter and throwing her to the ground, causing an injury to her scalp.”

UPDATE: The Carbon County News has the most Continue reading

Posted: February 2, 2014 at 10:03 am

Major TEA Party Figure Arrested

Sen. Jason Priest (R-TEA Red Lodge) Yellowstone County Detention Facility mug shot.
Sen. Jason Priest (R-TEA Red Lodge) Yellowstone County Detention Facility mug shot.

Sen. Jason Priest has been arrested and was, as of 10:00 am this morning, in the Yellowstone County detention facility. A reliable source tells me he is there for Partner Family Member Assault and resisting arrest, with other assault charges pending. More to come.

Priest is an important figure because he is the rebel leader in the civil war within the Republican Party and runs a dark money group called Montana Growth Network, which tries to defeat moderates and take over the Montana Supreme Court. Continue reading

Posted: January 30, 2014 at 7:41 am

Montana Ranks 3rd Nationally in TEA Party Members Per Capita

A new report ranks Montana third nationally in tea party membership as a percentage of the state’s population.

Wyoming ranked number two and Alaska had the highest percentage of TEA Partiers.  Still, the report from Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights showed MT TEA Party membership was much lower than what local groups have claimed, but its not like this bunch’s other claims have had much credibility either. Continue reading

Posted: January 22, 2014 at 7:59 am

Senate District 29′s Big Anti-Gay Obsession

tinfoilcapitol 2A rumble between two Republicans infamous for their anti-gay remarks will soon be underway in the Sweetgrass, Columbus, Park City area, where two TEA Party hotheads are going to tangle for state senate in a very conservative district. Rep. Joanne Blyton (R-Red Lodge, birther) has also filed for the seat.

The first candidate is state Rep. David Howard, chair of the House Human Services Committee, a man who has scoured the internet for world’s least credible anti-gay propaganda sites and furiously posted them to his Facebook page, night after night.

Here is his latest post:

Howard fbHoward’s post links to this article.  Howard must spend a lot of time on such sites–his Facebook page is dedicated almost entirely to anti-gay postings. (And occasional donkey porn apparently.) Even as the rest of the world has started to finally realize that marriage equality and recognition of committed loving relationships is an important civil right, the Republicans anti-gay propaganda just keeps getting more embarrassing.

Rep. Howard is also on the record saying he believes a Civil War is imminent. He also believes that “the godless liberals are forcing America’s kids to be sitting ducks” for mass murderers, and that medical marijuana leads to death. And it just gets wackier–and creepier.

Howard is expected to face TEA Party Sen. Jason Priest in the primary, although he has yet to officially file. Priest is the lawmaker who was forced to apologize for anti-gay remarks he made on his Facebook page, the Billings Gazette reported.  Priest used his “hateful, homophobic talk” to argue his dislike for paying taxes.

Jason Priest anti-gay remarks

Priest worked with a group of America’s most far-right activists who are pushing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to do away with our union as we know it--a constitutional amendment that would allow states to nullify federal laws by a vote  2/3 of state legislatures. Montana State Senator Jason Priest (R-Red Lodge) is one of the movement’s leaders.  Priest says:

“Montanans are a liberty-minded people and I will proudly sponsor the Article V application for the Repeal Amendment in the Montana Legislature to send a clear, strong message to Washington that we are a sovereign state with Montana-made solutions to today’s challenges.”

Priest had been listed on the movement’s website among the dozen or so leaders of the amendment, but the site has suddenly been taken down now that Priest is in a race for GOP leadership against Ravalli County TEA Partier Fred Thomas. Billings Sen. Jeff Essmann (R-TEA Billings), is running for house and seeking a house leadership position.  There is no non-TEA Repub in the running for GOP leadership at the time of this posting, although Sen. Llew Jones has been mentioned as a likely leader for his abilities to work with all sides.

The concept of nullification was a key feature of the most extreme legislature in Montana history–nearly a dozen bills to declare federal authority “null and void” or unenforceable in Montana were introduced by Republicans during the 2011 session.  However, Democrats and moderate Republicans joined forces to defeat the nullification bills time after time.  Governor Schweitzer called the bills “anti-American.”

Priest has drawn national attention before.  Speaking to group of Tea Party followers, apparently unaware of a running camera, Priest said,

“I live in Red Lodge where I’m that guy that nobody agrees with, and I don’t mind. I have to talk to them about things that are important to them in ways that aren’t offensive to them. That’s a good lesson to learn. I would rather tell them they’re insane… Is that camera on?”

Priest has also taken heat for making his considerable wealth from the medical debt of people who can’t afford health care.

An interesting letter to the editor was published in the Billings Gazette during the 2011 legislative session which asks about the conflict of interest incurred by state Senator Jason Priest. Priest sponsored a bill that could reap financial benefits for the medical debt collection industry he comes from.

For years Sen. Priest was the CEO of a company that specialized in collecting unpaid medical debts owed to hospitals.   The LTE reads:

State Sen. Jason Priest is the founder and president of Medipent, a New York company that relies on the huge mountain of personal debt generated by our broken health care system for its existence. Yet, as a representative of the people, he aligns himself in opposition to health care reform — a program that intends to eliminate the debt that sustains him and his company. How is his involvement not a conflict of interest?

Posted: January 1, 2014 at 9:05 pm

Cowgirl Blog’s Top Nutjobs of 2013

It’s been another wacky year if TEA Party nutjob antics. From voting to keep prison sentences for being gay to a slew of racist remarks and terrible ideas, Montana elected officials, TEA Party activists, and candidates brought the crackpot craziness to mainstream politics in an embarrassing way.

Here’s a look back at some of the most outrageous comments, craziest conspiracy theories, and just plain bad ideas proposed by our witless leaders in 2013, Continue reading

Posted: September 3, 2013 at 7:27 am

Civics Fail

If the GOP’s ideas about education haven’t already convinced you that they aren’t fit to hold elected office, check out the latest from the vice-Chair of the Montana Republican Party.

In a letter to her constituents posted on a couple of right-wing Facebook pages, MTGOP vice-Chair Jennifer Fielder (TEA-SD 7 Sanders County), writes that New York, Florida, or California “rule over the people here Montana simply because there is more of them than there are of us.”

Here’s Fielder:

Consider that California has 55 of the 535 seats in the U.S. Congress. In stark comparison, Montana only has 3. The number each state gets is based on population. Rural states like Montana don’t stand much of a chance in Washington DC.

Fortunately, our founders guaranteed each state a Republican form of government, meaning we largely rule ourselves.

Is Fielder just figuring this out now?  I guess no one told has told her that about another part of the legislative branch called the U.S. Senate–or how the Senate is set up differently, so that low-population states like Montana have more power per capita than large population states.

Perhaps it is this myopic view of how our government works that led the leaders of 2013 Legislature, Jeff Essmann, Art Wittich, and Jason Priest, to appoint Fielder help grow the size of government by serving on a new government commission.  This new government entity, set up by the Utah legislature, will “collaborate with other States to study the rights, powers, and authority of States to serve as a check on the power of the federal government.”

That’s gonna’ be hard to do if the other participants are as misinformed as Fielder.

Fielder’s entire missive can be found below the fold.

Continue reading

Posted: June 6, 2013 at 10:02 pm

GOP Floats New Strategy

Crackpot Derek SkeesRepublicans have taken heat recently because their backward platform and failure to embrace science is repelling voters.

But a new proposal from a Montana Republican could change the game this weekend at the state GOP convention in Bozeman. Continue reading