By Montana Street Fighter, on April 23, 2014 | 0 Comments
John Bohlinger loves talking about transparency. And transparency is great, in fact, most elected officials support increased transparency for the government, and for campaign finance as well. Most.
But John Bohlinger doesn’t back up his talk about transparency with actions. He didn’t even file a report on his fundraising with the Federal Elections Commission. Hell, even pro-Citizens United candidate Dirk Adams managed to send his paperwork in on time. Bohlinger this week received a warning from the FEC, giving him notice of potential legal penalties for his failure to comply with federal election laws.
If Bohlinger can’t find the time to be transparent about the small amount of money he’s raising, how could he be expected to fight for transparency in congress?
By Montana Street Fighter, on April 16, 2014 | 1 Comment
Earlier this month, Senator John Walsh tried to pass through the senate a piece of legislation that would protect the North Fork watershed from mining and oil extraction, but it was blocked by a handful of right-wing Republicans. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma led the effort to derail Walsh’s attempt to pass the popular legislation. This bill has bipartisan support, including all of Montana’s congressional delegation, even Congressman Daines. Supposedly.
However, this move to block the bill this was a thinly veiled political move. By having his TEA Party friends in the senate block the bill, Daines can claim to support its goals, while keeping Senator Walsh from getting credit for doing something that is extremely popular with Montanans. Daines sponsored a similar bill that passed through the house, but rather than allowing Walsh’s bill to pass, and then working together to compromise the two measures, Daines simply called up his Republican party bosses and TEA Party friends in the Senate to block it.
This is the worst kind of partisan politics. Daines claims to support protecting the North Fork, but he is happy to throw the legislation under the bus if it might help him score some points against Senator Walsh.
Says case was properly decided, "based on the U.S. Constitution"
By Montana Street Fighter, on April 9, 2014 | 0 Comments
A week or so back, we reported on Dirk Adams’ short-lived campaign blog that proclaimed his agreement with the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. Not long after he started campaigning last fall, Adams took down this part of his website, and has since denied his support for the decision.
Well a helpful tipster just sent along a screenshot of Adams’ original website, and asked us to take him to task for his flip flopping. Here it is, Adams’ deleted webiste post, in which he says that the court made the right decision in allowing unlimited corporate money to flow into our elections. It pretty much speaks for itself:
So there you have it. Adams thinks that the court decided “properly”. We don’t think there’s anything proper about letting corporations try to buy our elections. But hey, I guess we’ll just see how much Montanans appreciate Adams’ defense of Citizens United when it comes time to vote in June.
By Montana Street Fighter, on April 8, 2014 | 2 Comments
Today is Equal Pay Day, a day intended to raise awareness of the pay gap between men and women, and hopefully encourage policymakers to take action that moves us toward fair compensation, for everybody. Democrats in Montana have spoken out on this issue, and reaffirmed their support for equal pay time and time again. Governor Steve Bullock created a task force to tackle the problem, and Senator Walsh has made his stance clear, vowing to fight in the senate for equal pay for equal work.
Of course we know that Republicans are not concerned with this problem, and even deny that the problem exists. Congressman Daines helped Republican leadership block the Paycheck Fairness Act from even getting a vote, and today on Equal Pay Day, Montana Republicans on social media are denying that unequal pay is even an issue worth addressing:
Today a former Montana College Republican chairman replied to Sen. Walsh’s stance on equal pay by posting an incredibly offensive video which suggested that the pay gap is a result of women’s choices, and that women are paid less because of planning to have children in the future.
Here is a link to the sexist video. Note that they couldn’t find a woman to explain why women need to stop complaining about unequal pay. The suggestion that women receiving lower pay is a result of their own choices is beyond absurd. Yet this is the thinking of Montana Republicans. They will have a tough time convincing women to vote for them in 2014 if they continue suggesting women’s unfair pay is their own fault.
By Montana Street Fighter, on April 8, 2014 | 1 Comment
Corey Stapleton was recently named to the national Republicans’ “Young Guns” list of candidates to watch. While 3 of the 4 other candidates also made the list, Stapleton’s announcement of it was particularly amusing.
He declared that he had been put “on the radar”. Stapleton is probably thrilled about making it into this very exclusive club, but the funny thing is that the same week, he was also found on a very different radar: Lake County’s Valley Journal reported on April 1st that Stapleton received a speeding ticket in St. Ignatius.
Now, we’re not suggesting that a minor speeding ticket should disqualify anyone from running for office. With the kind of miles candidates have to drive to run for office in Montana, a ticket or two is probably inevitable. Hell, not too long ago, we didn’t even have speed limits, so clearly this is not a big deal in Montana. We just thought the timing was pretty funny, and thought it would be good for a laugh. Corey’s probably chuckling right along with us.
The graphic that Stapleton shared to announce his news exclaimed “Go Corey!” across the bottom. For your own sake, just don’t go too fast, Corey.
By Montana Street Fighter, on April 7, 2014 | 0 Comments
Republicans have a rule they like to call “Reagan’s 11th Commandment”: thou shalt not speak ill of other Republicans. Sounds nice in theory, but Montana Republicans don’t exactly follow it. At all. Whether it’s the 2012 gubernatorial primary, in which Republican candidates ran negative ads against each other, or relentless infighting and primary challenges in the legislature, we’ve seen Republicans in Montana attack each other over and over, and they never seem to learn their lesson.
Well, it seems one candidate has taken it upon himself to be the new moral compass of Montana Republicans. Ryan Zinke recently took to Facebook to assure supporters that he will take the high ground and abstain from negative attacks. He also warned people to be on the lookout for intra-party attack ads from his primary challengers.
How refreshing! But could it be true? Not a chance. First of all, none of Zinke’s opponents have engaged in any negative campaigning or even given any indication that they will. That means that by preemptively saying that they will, and implying that his opponents will break Reagan’s sacred rule, Zinke is effectively attacking them. Just because he’s not naming names doesn’t make it any less negative for Zinke to call into question the character of his opponents.
So there’s that. And let’s not forget that there is a major reason Zinke doesn’t feel the need to overtly attack his challengers. Is it his high ethical standard or impeccable personal code of conduct? Not exactly. More likely, it’s the fact that Zinke is the only candidate in the race with his own personal super PAC to do all his dirty work for him. Why would he engage in attacks when an outside group is already prepared to spend huge sums beating up the opposition?
And this isn’t just speculation. Very shortly after Zinke left SOFA PAC, the group began attacking the other Republicans in the race:
Zinke is trying really hard to convince people that he is staying above the fray in this primary, but clearly he is the one who fired the first shot by having his Super PAC attack his opponents for him.
By Montana Street Fighter, on April 2, 2014 | 0 Comments
Today, the Supreme Court struck down a long-standing campaign finance law that put a total limit on how much an individual can contribute to candidates running for federal offices.
What does this mean? Well, in short, this is going to allow even more out of state money to pour into our elections. Now, wealthy megadonors like Sheldon Adelson, the Koch Brothers, and all their friends can give to an unlimited number of candidates in an election. So that means, on top of writing huge checks to super PACs that are trying to buy our elections and party committees that use deceptive tricks to fool voters, they can send maximum donations to every candidate running for congress in the United States.
This decision just gives more influence to wealthy donors, and is just the latest in a string of rulings that are eating away at our election process. Democrats in Montana know this decision is bad for Democracy, and of course Steve Daines thinks this is fine. He put out a statement on the decision, basically saying that it was in the name of free speech, and that allowing wealthy donors to give even more won’t make big money in elections “better or worse”. Sure, Steve.
He already has pals like the Koch Brothers running ads for him, so he must be thrilled to be able to take even more of their money. Montanans have stood up to this kind of thing over and over before. In 2012, Montanans voted resoundingly to approve a ballot measure stating that corporations do not have the same rights as individuals to spend in our elections. Montana knows all too well what happens when big donors can buy our elections. That’s why we have always voted to limit money in politics, and that’s why we kicked the Copper Kings out of power.
If Steve Daines is okay with this decision, you can bet Montana voters won’t be okay with the idea of Steve Daines as their senator.
By Montana Street Fighter, on March 26, 2014 | 7 Comments
Over the last couple weeks, the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart has been bringing attention to something that has become common practice in American campaigns in recent years. What he has dubbed “McConnelling” (named after senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who is a particularly comical example of this) is when candidates place what basically amounts to stock footage of themselves on their websites, where it is easily accessible for outside groups to find and use in ads. This way, candidates can make sure that they look nice and pretty in the independent TV commercials, without technically coordinating with PACs.
It looks like Ryan Zinke has taken a play out of old Mitch’s book. Zinke recently placed an unusually long video on his website, and it just screams #McConnelling. Yes, Zinke does talk over some of the video, but there’s also a lot of seemingly unnecessary footage of Zinke, rapidly switching between all sorts of situations and outfits. In fact, we counted six wardrobe changes in just about four minutes. This video is clearly just a vehicle for making footage available to independent expenditure groups.
It’s packed full of great stock footage, just the type of stuff that outside groups are looking for to make TV ads. It’s impressive how much they managed to cram into this video, it really has it all: Zinke holding a baby, Zinke talking to a veteran, Zinke staring purposefully off into the distance, Zinke watching approvingly as someone makes a gun, Zinke walking across a field with a cowboy hat, then without a cowboy hat, then walking through the same field a third time, suddenly in a suit. And of course, there are some choice photos of Zinke in military uniform. You can bet this stuff will be showing up in SOFA PAC ads when they hit the airwaves to support Zinke in the primary.
Now, the reason Stewart has been bringing attention to this, is that most people can clearly see that this is just candidates exploiting a loophole in the system, he’s pointing out a flaw. While most people would consider this just a tad bit shady, we think it is actually a step up for Zinke, from his previous ethical standards. Up until now, Zinke’s campaign has interacted with PACs in ways that have brought on repeated allegations of campaign law violations.
Of course the best part of Stewart’s #McConnelling segment is when he goes over the top to point out how ridiculous this is, by encouraging people to add their own music to McConnell’s stock footage, with hilarious effect. We thought we’d take a stab at making a #McConnelling video with Ryan Zinke’s footage, too. Check it out below:
By Montana Street Fighter, on March 26, 2014 | 0 Comments
Today, Dirk Adams took to twitter trying to save some face on campaign finance issues, but it’s a little too late for that. Last year when he first announced his candidacy, Adams’ campaign website said that he supported the Supreme Court’s Citizens United Decision. It wasn’t there long (presumably his staffer informed him that it was bad politics) before he changed the site to exclude that particular position, although he still doesn’t say outright that he opposes it.
In fact, the Bozeman Chronicle reported last fall that Adams wasn’t opposed to the decision, even after seeing how much outside money came into Montana in 2012. The Chronicle wrote that “He watched the money that poured into the state during last year’s Senate race. Still, he said he doesn’t oppose the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision”.
Basically what he says now, is that he’s fine with Citizens United allowing corporations to pour unlimited money into elections, as long as they report it. Well sure, transparency is a good goal, but you know what would be even better? Not tolerating corporations’ ability to buy elections for their benefit. The Koch brothers aren’t ashamed of what they do, they will keep buying seats in congress for their friends whether they have to report it or not.
Democrats in Montana know all too well what Citizens United means for elections, and they won’t support a candidate who won’t take a real, meaningful stance on this issue, and oppose Citizens United.
By Montana Street Fighter, on March 25, 2014 | 3 Comments
Like we wrote earlier today, last night’s Republican congressional debate seems to have sparked a bit of a disagreement among two of the candidates. It’s not an ideological disagreement or a policy question, mind you, but Matt Rosendale and Ryan Zinke are both touting themselves as “winners” of the debate. Here are tweets sent our from their campaigns, both calling themselves the victors.
Sometimes in politics, things can be nuanced, and there’s not always one right answer to every question. But this is not one of those times. In fact, immediately following the debate, the Montana State University College Republicans conducted a straw poll of audience members, to see who in fact won the debate. The results were far from inconclusive: Matt Rosendale took 51% of the vote from the audience, while Zinke trailed behind in second place, at 32%.
However, that didn’t stop Zinke from going ahead and declaring himself the winner anyway. Zinke has already shown himself to have a pretty lousy track record with keeping his facts straight, so it seems he has decided to just start making up his own. Blatant lies like this may fly with Zinke’s out-of-state lobbyist pals, but not in Montana.