Henry Kriegel, a right-wing talk show host, former cult member and self-appointed Tea Party leader in Bozeman, is under consideration to fill a vacancy on the Gallatin county commission. The Bozeman Chronicle’s Jodi Hausen has the story.
When a county commissioner resigns, the law allows the local party (of the departing member) to nominate three candidates to fill the vacancy. From those three, the commission selects the replacement. Besides Kriegel, there is Barbara Blum. The important fact about Blum is that she is the top political operative for the infamous Roger Koopman. He’s the PSC member and enforcer of the far right, who conducts purity tests and recently said that “Republican blood will flow in the streets” if moderates don’t get in line.
And the third name is Pierre Martineau. But Martineau, when googled, shows no interest in conspiracy theories or Sasquatch hunting, so its not clear how he was able to sneak through the nomination process.
Kriegel’s candidacy is sure to generate the most controversy. He was once was busted by the IRS for failing to pay a fortune in income taxes (somehow he got a bankruptcy court to let him off the hook on a large portion of it) and still went on to lead the Montana chapter of Americans for Prosperity (the group that gets its money from the Kochs). From that perch, he spoke out frequently about the need for tax reform (bahaha!!).
He was also a top member of the Church Universal and Triumphant, also known as CUT. He was once profiled in an LA Times article, in fact. An “out-of-stater” (to use a Republican phrase), Kriegel is from New York and left the east coast on a soul search, came to Montana, and joined up with CUT. And during the 1990s, Kriegel actually spoke out against the deprogramming efforts of anti-cult activists, saying he was the “victim of an attempted deprogramming” by people opposed to his CUT membership. (Bozeman Daily Chronicle, March 15, 1992.)
As a member of CUT, according to Wikipedia, Kriegel should have worshipped things such as
“esoteric mysticism, the paranormal and alchemy, with a belief in angels, elves, fairies, and other beings…such as Sanat Kumara, Maitreya, Djwal Khul, El Morya, Kuthumi, Paul the Venetian, Serapis Bey, the Master Hilarion, Lanto, Lady Master Nada, Godfre, Lady Master Lotus, and Lanello, Enoch and Elohim.”
CUT was also the bunch who believed that the world was going to end of a nuclear holocaust at a particular hour and minute on April 23, 1990, and built a massive underground bomb shelter up near Gardiner, MT and stocked it to the rafters with illegally purchased semi-automatic weapons, in preparation for The End (as reported by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Feb. 27, 1995; Bozeman Daily Chronicle, March 14, 1995).
This may be the kind of behavior that inspires Americans for Prosperity, but I doubt it will do much for the citizens of Gallatin County and my guess is that the GOP will end up handing over this seat eventually, if they put some nutjob in there.