Remember Charter Communications, the cable, internet, and phone company that is pushing a ballot initiative to make Montanans pay its taxes for it? Well it looks like their paid signature gatherers have been caught on tape telling whoppers.
Charter Communications, which has become somewhat of a national joke, is a multi-billion dollar corporation which is delinquent in paying its Montana taxes. The corporation is seeking its own personal loophole to Montana laws, as I wrote about here, in hopes of getting out of their tax bill.
The ballot initiative asks voters to cut Charter Communication’s property tax rate in half–and would leave Montanans holding the bag for the rest.
Of course, the corporation knows this wouldn’t be too popular with the voters. So it is apparently paying its signature gatherers to lie to the voters, claiming the ballot measure will “lower your cable bill” instead of telling you the truth: That your taxes will go up while their profits soar.
But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself what Charter is telling people in this video captured by a Cowgirl tipster. The audio has some background noise, but the words are clear.
Here’s the transcript:
Charter: “I’m trying to help lower the cable and internet tax in Montana.”
Montanan: What’s the cable and internet tax?
Charter: “Well its a complicated issue, but cable companies, when they came to Montana, didn’t understand the property taxes. In the next fiscal year, they won’t be making any revenue. In response to that, they are threatening to raise their rates by 300%. But what this allows us to do is it allows us to put them under a lower property tax. ”
[Then the guy goes on to say, to paraphrase: We just need your name and address, we wont sent you any emails. Etc….blah blah blah.]
Montanan: “No thanks.”
The tipster saw others sign–only after being asked if they wanted to sign a petition to lower cable bills.
In case you missed it, KXLH recently obtained video of another man recruiting signature gatherers for Charter’s ballot initiative effort.
This man said the issue at hand was “taxation without representation.” He said, “I can be from DC, I can be from Virginia, I can be from anywhere in the world, in the United States. If I feel the need for people–civil liberties are being trumped upon. If I feel a need to assist in any capacity I can do so.”
As you can imagine, people aren’t pleased about this. Montana’s largest newspaper editorialized:Don’t be fooled by Charter’s ballot initiative
UPDATE: John Lewis’s wife Melissa Lewis, has sent the following update.
I’m sure you’re aware of a recent story in the Helena Vigilante about Charter’s ballot initiative and my name being mentioned. Just wanted you to know that, while I was involved during the exploratory phase, I immediately recused myself when it became clear they were moving forward with the ballot initiative. I haven’t done any work on the measure. Thanks for understanding.