….Steve Daines, the Republican millionaire who makes his money shipping American jobs overseas.
Mr. Daines first revealed his hypocrisy to Montana voters when he said that we need more transparency in Congress. If Daines really wants more transparency in Congress, he should probably remove himself from the Montana house race.
Here’s what happened. Responding to Kim Gillan’s call for Montana’s next Member of Congress to pledge that they will place their assets in Blind Trust to avoid ethical conflicts of interest in Congress, a Daines spokesperson said in the Billings Gazette that Congress need to focus on “the real issues of increasing transparency.”
But even the briefest glance at Daines’ background reveals that Steve Daines is not really a big transparency fan.Take the two $10,000 donations Daines collected for his political action committee (PAC) called the “Daines Montana Victory Committee.”
The law says that Daines must report the occupation and employer of his PAC’s donors. However, months have passed since Daines received the cash and he still hasn’t made that information public. That’s what makes him an award winning hypocrite.
The checks came from a Sid Greehy and a Sam Tallis, who both claimed 214 Main Street in Scobey, Montana, as their address. This same address is listed as belonging to the Shale Exploration Oil Company, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. An internet search shows that Greehy is the CEO of the Shale Exploration and Tallis is the Texas company’s president. Neither Greehey or Tallis were found in a search of Montana voting registration records.
Of course this isn’t the first time Daines has hidden his financial backers from Montanans. Back in 2007, Daines started a shadow 501(c)4 organization that attacked the Governor Schweitzer for being fiscally conservative. When asked in the Billings Gazette to disclose who was funding his front group, Daines declined:
“Daines has declined to reveal who’s funding the group or how much it has spent, and he said GiveItBack.com will disclose whatever is required under the law.”
Lee State Bureau reporter Mike Dennison reported this weekend on the workings of the supercommittee tasked with finding ways to fix the federal budget. Or rather he tried to:
I’d like to tell you, with some degree of certainty, which side is more to blame for the failure this week of the deficit-cutting “supercommittee,” which included Montana Sen. Max Baucus.
But I can’t, because the panel inexplicably conducted most of its business in secret.
There is a compelling and fundamental right on behalf of all citizens to have access to vital information relating to the deliberations of publicly elected officials to cuts $1.2 trillion from the federal budget.
That’s why the Montana Cowgirl Blog uncovered the secret transcripts of the debt panel proceedings, which are presented here for your edification. As you can see, the transcripts reveal just how heavily the U.S. Senate relies on ancient tradition, logic and most importantly, precedent. Many of its current rules, procedures, and traditions even draw inspiration from the dealings of ancient Rome. I hope you draw as much inspiration and confidence from these passages as I have.
DEFICIT SUPERCOMMITTEE OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT
Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas (Republican and committee co-chair): I call this meeting to order. Twelve buzzards appeared around lunchtime last Tuesday, and, as provided for in Senate Rule 2837B-2, a surprise visit by more than eight buzzards signifies that it is time to commence our work.
Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan (Republican): Thank you gentleman for the opportunity to address the body.
Aide: Reminds Upton that there is also a woman present.
Upton: (Waves hand dismissively, continues.) When I was last home in Michegan in 1994, I witnessed two eagles dueling over a dead goat. This portends ill for the continuation of the Bush tax cuts.
Sen. Max Baucus of Montana (Democrat). Aside, to an Aide: How many goats do we have in Montana?
Aide: leaves to fetch graphing calculator, returns with a printout.
Baucus: I vote no.
Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona (Republican): We must increase military spending by at least double the amount of any revenue increases we make. This is partially to fight terrorists who want to harm our freedom, but mostly because I saw three meteors strike the moon at dawn.
Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts (Democrat): I disagree. When meteors strike the moon that signifies an unhappy parent, meaning we must not cut Medicare and Social Security.
Kyl: No it doesn’t.
Kerry: Yes it does.
Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania (Republican): We must consult the Oracle to clarify this matter before proceeding further. Lets adjourn for three weeks. This work is very tiring.
After months of waiting for a funding bill from Rehberg’s appropriations committee in the House, the Senate was forced to give up and started work on its own funding bill for the coming year for Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations. This is the committee that funds health care, financial aid, community health centers, Head Start, etc.
This situation is unusual. Traditionally, the Senate follows the House in approving these bills. And this is the first time in nearly a decade that the House’s Committee has failed to put a funding proposal together by August. Under Rehberg’s “leadership,” after two cancellations, the House’s Labor-HHS Committee (which Rehberg chairs), still has not produced its version of the funding bill.
There’s been lots of speculation out there about what’s going on. Today, some clues are starting to emerge.
In a press release, Sen. Tom Harkin today said the Senate bill will be:
“the only Labor HHS bill marked up for this fiscal year. The House Labor-HHS subcommittee was scheduled to consider a bill two weeks ago, but the majority couldn’t muster enough votes to pass it, and has abandoned all attempts to do so.”
Meanwhile, it is already getting cold in Montana. Yet Rehberg seems to have forgotten (or doesn’t care) that he’s in charge of funding low income energy assistance for families and food for seniors that would be forced to go without if it weren’t for the Senate taking over. At least we can be thankful that Rehberg’s not in the Senate himself.
Without any other information, we have to assume his plan couldn’t get support because it was too wacky to see the light of day–and this is a committee made up of a majority of members of his own party. Presumably, Rehberg is so much of a hardliner that he put together something even members of his own party were unable to support. We can’t know however, because Rehberg’s keeping his proposal hidden from Montanans.