Wendy Warburton, tea partyist legislator from Havre, made the mistake of admitting to Emily Ritter, Montana Public Radio that the reason she has introduced two anti-abortion constitutional amendments is that these two measures, if they appear on the ballot, will “drive Republican voters to the polls,” and thus benefit R candidates in 2012. (Listen to the story here: click “Click to Listen” the story is about 5 minutes and 10 seconds in.)
Putting things on the ballot to drive up turnout is an old trick that the GOP loves, like CI-105, a ballot measure which proposed eliminating a tax that didn’t exist. But the ballot measures are usually put on the ballot by citizen groups or other private interests, which are required to get the signatures from citizens to prove that enough citizens want the measure on the ballot. The measures Warburton is pushing have failed twice in two years to get anywhere close to the number of signatures necessary. It takes 49,000 signatures to place a proposed constitutional amendment before voters.
The Montana code clearly prohibits using government time and facilities for political activity.
Here, a legislator is being open about the fact that she has just wasted the legislature’s time–a significant amount of it, I might add–with a political task assigned to her by GOP operatives, to carry out an electoral strategy. Someone should probably file a complaint.
Beyond that, does this woman have any sense of appropriateness at all? Some common sense advice to Wendy: when politicians do things for purely political motives, they’re supposed to at least pretend to make up some sort of legitimate policy reason.