Archive for the ‘Montana Policy Center’ Category

Montana HD 3 Legislator Jerry O’Neil Requests Salary Paid In Gold and Silver

November 14, 2012 Leave a comment

Montana House District 3 Legislator Jerry O’Neil has made a request that, considering the monetary policy of the obama regime and the federal reserve,  he be paid in gold and silver currency.  In the letter, he  notes that the U.S. Constitution  prohibits the payment of debts in anything but gold and silver, and says that his oath to the Constitution and the people he represents can only be honored if the government pays his legislative salary to him  “in gold and silver coins that will still have value when the U.S. dollar is reduced to junk status.”

The full copy of the letter (pdf) is available below:

November 12, 2012
State of Montana Legislative Services
Central Services Office
Post Office Box 201706
Helena, Montana 59620-1706

Re: Legislator Compensation

Dear Legislative Services:

Last week I was re-elected to serve the people of House District 3 as their Representative in the Montana Legislature. Once again it will be my privilege to take the oath of office, promising to obey and protect the United States Constitution and the Constitution of Montana.

When campaigning, some of my constituents informed me I was not honoring my duty to uphold and defend the United States Constitution. The area of their concern is the prohibition, contained in Article I, Section 10, that states, “No state shall – – make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts – -.” They ask me how I, a policy maker for the State of Montana, can ignore this clear constitutional prohibition.

Over the 10 years I have previously served in the legislature I have considered this a trivial matter that would show me to be out of step with our national rulers if I made an issue out of it. I did not want to be branded as a fanatic over an issue of no consequence.

Today I am looking at this issue in a new light. When I was going to my constituents homes I agreed with them the most important issue for the coming legislative session will be to protect them from the economic debacle hanging over our heads.

With just a cursory look at history we know a country that lives beyond its means faces dire consequences. Having a $16,000,000,000,000 national debt is a warning sign we can only ignore at our peril. Having such a debt and allowing it to increase unchecked is an invitation for national suicide.

It is very likely the bottom will fall out from under the U.S. dollar. Only so many dollars can be printed before they have no value. The Keynesian era of financing government with debt appears to be close to its demise. If and when that happens, how can we in the Montana Legislature protect our constituents?

The only answer I can come up with is to honor my oath to the U.S. Constitution and request that your debt to me be paid in gold and silver coins that will still have value when the U.S. dollar is reduced to junk status. I therefore request my legislative pay to be in gold and silver coins that are unadulterated with base metals.

I am not asking for you to give me gold and silver American Eagles at their face value of $50.00 and $1.00, but rather at their current market prices that today are $1,801.00 and $35.28.

Hopefully this will be an example for our Montana citizens and prompt them to also have some of their own wealth in money that has intrinsic value.

Yours truly,

Jerry O’Neil

Montana Conservatives WIN, Passing Several Key Initiatives

November 8, 2012 11 comments


LR-120 ( HB 627 )
Subject: Referendum to require parental notification prior to abortion for a minor, providing for judicial waiver of notification, repealing prior statutes, and providing penalties.

LR-121 ( HB 638 )
Subject: Referendum to deny certain state services to illegal aliens.

LR-122 ( SB 418 )
Subject: Referendum to prohibit the state or federal government from mandating the purchase of health insurance or imposing penalties for decisions related to purchasing health insurance.

Subject: Referendum on SB 423, a bill which repeals I-148 and enacts a new medical marijuana program.

Subject: Charge Montana elected and appointed officials, state and federal, with implementing a policy that corporations are not human beings with constitutional rights.


Montana 2012 Elections: Jon Testers Boomerang Campaign

September 24, 2012 Leave a comment


By Dustin Hurst |

HELENA – To the casual observer, Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester is running a solid re-election campaign. He’s casting himself as the humble Big Sandy farmer, while aggressively painting his opponent as an out-of-touch political insider.

Yet, a longer look at Tester’s attacks on Republican U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, the senator’s November foe, reveals an uncomfortable pattern.

Many of the attacks lobbed from Tester’s side of the aisle could be heaved right back at the first-term incumbent – call them boomerang shots.

Some of the attacks and ads are simply misleading or omitting key information.

To examine Tester’s attacks and the counter stories, suggests a few musical tracks to endure.

Jackson: Tester needs to look at the Man in the Mirror on debt.

Tester track: Michael Jackson – Man in the mirror

Since his 2009 passing, the King of Pop has amassed more than $400 million in musical royalties. Keep that quiet though, because Tester might try to spend it all and more.

Less than two months ago, Tester’s campaign smacked Rebherg for voting several times to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. It was a Man in the Mirror moment for Tester, who, since he took office, supported increasing the nation’s credit card load several times.

In fact, through six years of service before Tester took office, Rehberg supported $3 trillion in debt limit hikes. Tester, on the other hand, backed adding $7.4 trillion to the nation’s debt ceiling.

Key lyrics: “I’m starting with the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways.”

Tester track: Notorious B.I.G – Mo’ Money, Mo Problems

Like the great Michael Jackson, Biggie rests in a better place now, but his message lives on: The more money you have, the more problems you’ll see.

Tester’s made money a central rallying cry of his race. Conservative outside spending groups pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into the state seeking his defeat and the senator plays the victim card, bellyaching about secret corporate money.

Notorious BIG: Mo’ money, mo’ problems.

Tester never mentions, however, the secret union money flowing to his aid through at least three outside spending groups – Patriot Majority, Montana Hunters and Anglers Action! and Citizens for Strength and Security.

For its share, Patriot Majority, a front for American labor unions, has pitched in more than $800,000 on Tester’s behalf.

Key lyrics: “I don’t know what they want from me, it’s like the more money we come across,
the more problems we see.”

Jepsen: Call me, maybe?

Tester track: Carly Rae Jepsen – Call me maybe

This surprising runaway hit, dropped in summer 2012, appropriately describes how Montana’s libertarians feel about Tester’s Senate term – naively jolted.

See, Tester boldly promised in a 2006 debate to seek repeal of the invasive Patriot Act, a move in stark contrast with Republican U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns, who stood by the law.

Freedom-minded voters who trusted the senator and ushered him into office, but have exactly nothing to show for their innocent faithfulness.

While Tester blasts Rehberg for supporting the Patriot Act, the senator promised to seek the law’s repeal and it’s a pledge he’s yet to fulfill.

Key lyrics: “Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me, maybe?”

Tester track: Hall and Oates – Private Eyes

Hall & Oates: We’re watching you … with predator drones.

This year, Tester’s again feverishly working to peel libertarian-minded voters from Rehberg. To do that, the senator casts Rehberg as Big Brother’s chief enabler, the man solely and wholly responsible for all surveillance drone activity in American skies.

Yet, it was Tester who aided a pro-drone nonprofit here in Montana when it wanted to bring an unmanned aerial vehicle testing zone to the state.

Tester, like Rehberg, also supported the most recent Federal Aviation Authorization bill in Congress, paving the way for thousands of drones to hit the skies in the next few years.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit defending rights in the Brave New World, estimates the law could help fly more than 30,000 over the U.S. by 2020.

Key lyrics: “Why you try to put up a front for me, I’m a spy but on your side you see, Slip on, into any disguise, I’ll still know you, look into my private eyes.”

Eminem: I’ve got skeletons in the campaign closet.

Tester track: Eminem – Cleanin out my closet

Maybe this dark track is Eminem’s bout with his personal demons, but it gets something Tester might not understand: Honesty with self.

The senator’s first campaign ad touted Tester’s commitment to accountability, proper ethics and accountability. Yet, the senator couldn’t even provide full disclosure for those ads.

On a semi-regular basis through the past six years, Tester invited retired Montana judges to conduct ethics audits of his Senate office practices. The reports came back clean, as they should.

Tester failed to mention – on several occasions – two of the judges had clears ties to the Democratic Party. One was a former Democratic state legislator and the other’s wife donated to Tester’s 2006 campaign.

Key lyrics: “I got some skeletons in my closet and I don’t know if no one knows it, so before they throw me inside my coffin and close it, I’ma expose it.”

Tester track: Travie McCoy – Billionaire

McCoy: I want to be a billionaire. That, or take campaign cash from billionaires.

Remember that super-secret corporate money that Tester fights so hard?

Turns out, some of the richest companies in the country fill Tester’s campaign pockets, even while he blasts business bucks in politics.

The senator’s list of donors is possibly the finest for miles. It includes Wells FargoComcastBank of AmericaGoldman Sachs, AFLACCitigroupGlaxosmithKlein, FedEx and many, many more.

In fact, as points out, Tester is the No. 2 recipient for commercial bank and credit union cash in the 2012 election cycle. Through the more recent reporting period, Tester raked in more than $1.9 million from PACs, 66 percent of that amount from business-related groups.

Key lyrics: “I wanna be a billionaire so freaking bad, buy all the stuff I never had. I wanna be on the cover of Forbes magazine, smiling next to Oprah and the Queen.”

 Contact Dustin Hurs via or on Twitter with the @DustinHurst handle. 

The obama Regime Does NOT Represent Rural America

August 27, 2012 Leave a comment


It’s no secret that things in Washington, D.C. are a mess. What’s less commonly understood is that, while the gridlock between Republicans and Democrats grabs headlines, for Montana the bigger conflicts arise between rural and urban interests.

President Obama is from Chicago. Meanwhile, some of his key Cabinet posts were filled by other big-city nominees. Hilda Solis, for example, took the helm at the Department of Labor. She’s from Los Angeles. Lisa Jackson, is from New Orleans and worked in New Jersey before assuming the post as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).


And this urban bias has reared its head in policy. Again and again, Washington, D.C. shows how out of touch it is with rural America, and we are forced to fight back to protect our way of life. Here are a few examples:

• Last month, the Senate voted to resurrect the old “Death Tax” and impose it on any family farm valued at more than $1 million. According to the Department of Agriculture, the average farm in Montana is worth more than $1.6 million. Fortunately, the House has passed legislation to prevent this tax, and many others, from going up.

• The Department of Labor proposed a so-called “Youth Ag Rule” to severely limit the type of work young people are allowed to do on farms and ranches. This rule was not only insulting to producers who make safety a way of life, but it was a threat to the future of the family farm in America. I led the fight to have this rule removed and included a provision in the Department of Labor funding bill to prevent them from taking any further action to advance it.

• The EPA wants to expand the authority of the Clean Water Act to include “non-navigable” water, giving them regulatory jurisdiction over just about any water anywhere, including melted snow, mud puddles and prairie potholes. I introduced and got passed an amendment to the Energy and Water spending bill to stop this power grab.

• EPA fuel-storage regulations would require producers with 1,320 gallons of total fuel storage to enact an oil spill prevention plan, and producers with more than 10,000 gallons aggregate storage would have to have that plan professionally certified. So, working with my colleagues in the House, we responded by passing the FUELS Act to protect farmers from this costly and unnecessary federal requirement.

• Grain bin “sweep auger” rules crafted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) were so poorly defined, they led to industry-wide confusion about what was needed to avoid costly fines. For example, OSHA warned that “an employee cannot work inside a bin while an unguarded sweep auger is in operation,” but failed to define “unguarded” (sweep augers cannot function properly if they are completely guarded).

So I added legislative language to the Labor Department appropriations bill to prevent OSHA from implementing these regulations in a way that is unworkable for Montana’s grain elevators.

These are just a few of the more egregious examples, and I share them to make an important point — under President Obama, rural representatives have our hands full.

Ideally, Congress would focus its time crafting a new Farm Bill to provide a critical safety net for Montana’s farming and ranching families and a level of certainty for all the small businesses that depend on our state’s agriculture industry.

Unfortunately, a significant amount of time is needed to serve our function as a check and balance to President Obama’s harmful anti-rural agenda and undo damage caused by his rubber-stamp Senate.

But as our ag industry struggles with everything from droughts to floods and wildfires, there is simply no excuse for further delay in passing a Farm Bill. House leaders have a responsibility to bring the Farm Bill to the floor to move the process forward in a timely manner. I told them as much in a letter I sent them, along with a handful of rural colleagues.

The feedback I’ve heard from Montanans at more than 100 public listening sessions could not be more urgent. I’m ready and eager to return to Washington, D.C. at any time to finish this important work.

Rep. Denny Rehberg is Montana’s lone Congressman and is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate.

Montana Coalition Of Health Care Pros To Oppose The obamacare Schemes…….

August 1, 2012 4 comments

[TWG Note: This issue is going to be of monumental importance during Montana’s 2013 Legislative session.  Montanans need to rally together and show their opposition to this abhorrent obamacare scheme.

There’s millions of reasons why we do NOT want this socialized system. To quote Winston Churchill; “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy, its inherent value is the equal sharing of misery.” Sometimes the advocates of socialized medicine claim that health care is too important to be left to the market. That’s why some politicians are calling for us to adopt health care systems such as those in Canada, the United Kingdom and other European nations. But the suggestion that we’d be better served with more government control doesn’t even pass a simple smell test.

Do we want the government employees who run the troubled Walter Reed Army Medical Center to be in charge of our entire health care system? Or, would you like the people who deliver our mail to also deliver health care services? How would you like the people who run the motor vehicles department, the government education system, Amtrak, foreign intelligence and other government agencies to also run our health care system?

Before we buy into single-payer health care systems like Canada’s and the United Kingdom’s, we might want to do a bit of research. The Vancouver, British Columbia-based Fraser Institute annually publishes “Waiting Your Turn.” Its 2006 edition gives waiting times, by treatments, from a person’s referral by a general practitioner to treatment by a specialist. The shortest waiting time was for oncology (4.9 weeks). The longest waiting time was for orthopedic surgery (40.3 weeks), followed by plastic surgery (35.4 weeks) and neurosurgery (31.7 weeks).

As reported in the June 28 National Center for Policy Analysis’ “Daily Policy Digest,” Britain’s Department of Health recently acknowledged that one in eight patients waits more than a year for surgery. France’s failed health care system resulted in the deaths of over 13,000 people, mostly of dehydration, during the heat spell of 2003. Hospitals stopped answering the phones, and ambulance attendants told people to fend for themselves.

We do, after all, know the history of what happens when countries replace a free market in health care with a government run insurer. Private insurers cannot afford to continue and drop out of the business. Employers throw employees on the public system. There is a two-tiered medical system. Rich people and government employees get top-notch care. Everybody else goes to the public Clinic. Doctors quit the profession. They emigrate if they can. Doctors who stay in business cut their hours drastically. Pharmaceutical companies do not do any research on new drugs. Even if they did, it wouldn’t help because government bureaucrats do not approve payments for new drugs to treat anything.

Government rations health care, and decides whether people are allowed to receive treatment or will just be given painkillers while they die, or perhaps are directed to an assisted suicide center. Death is cheaper than living, after all, to unaccountable government bureaucrats. At least, as long as it’s your death we’re talking about instead of theirs. The cost of health insurance doubles when it is collected through the tax system, approximately, and government health insurance service in comparison makes the DMV look like the service desks at Wal-Mart, where you can return anything that any Wal-Mart sells even without a price tag on it, let alone a receipt. That is the height of luxury compared to the Kafkaesque nightmare suffered by those in the bowels of the government run health care system.

How about those glassy eyed “progressive” Dim ideologues stop destroying the economy before we let them have a whack at health care with their unworkable, many times failed socialist schemes?

When will people wake up and see where socialism and government healthcare will take us?? It’s a terrible system and we MUST not let Obama and his regime do this to our country!!! We need to fight this big time or one day we will be standing in lines to see a limited number of doctors, put on waiting lists for surgery, limited in what medicines we can take based on cost, allowed to die because they have to ration care, and the quality of care will be awful.

We MUST REPEAL the government takeover of healthcare that disregarded the will of the people, and then REPLACE it with genuine reforms that give control to patients and doctors, rather than bureaucrats; honor our traditions of freedom of choice and privacy; make medical care, and the practice of medicine, affordable; promote a system in which good and timely care is available to all our citizens; and encourage continued innovation and investment in the development of new medical treatments.]

AFP announces coalition of health care pros to oppose Obamacare <!––>By Phil Drake on July 30, 2012

By PHIL DRAKE | Montana Watchdog

HELENA – An organization that promotes limited government joined with a group of doctors on Monday and announced a coalition to oppose the oncoming Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, saying it would be costly and not deliver on promises.
Americans for Prosperity and the Montana Medical Free Choice Coalition held a news conference on the steps of the state capitol in Helena, with what organizers said was attended by about 30 people. A few signs, such as “Obamacare … Just say no” and “Give us Liberty, not mandated health care!” peppered the area.
According to a news release, the MMFCC opposes government-run health care, the president’s health care law, commonly called “Obamacare,” and supports “market-based and patient-centered reform.”
Joe Balyeat, the state director for AFP and former state lawmaker, said Obamacare would create “a whole new class of serfs in Montana.”
“People with incomes all the way up to $92,200 will have a portion of their insurance paid by the feds,” he said, adding it would put the majority the state’s residents on “the government dole.”
He that in 2010, Medicaid cost taxpayers $400 billion and provided insurance to 54 million. He said 17 million Americans would be added to Medicaid because of Obamacare and by 2020, Medicaid will cover 85 million Americans at a cost of $870 billion annually. He also quoted studies that said surgical patients on Medicaid are 13 percent more likely to die than uninsured patients and 97 percent more likely to die than privately-insured patients.
The coalition, which Balyeat said is comprised so far of about a dozen doctors and members of the health care field, will begin offering opinion pieces to newspapers and speaking out against Obamacare.
Annie Bukacek, an internist who said she would come up with a way to not participate in Obamacare, said the law would “dramatically slash the quality of patient care, especially those who need it most.”
“Government-run health care won’t take care of you,” she said. “The ones that need it the most are left by the wayside.”
Jean Branscum, executive vice president of the Montana Medical Association, which represents 2,200 physicians in the state, said her organization has not taken a political position on Obamacare.
She said they are, however, educating physicians about what they will have to do to comply with laws and how the laws will impact them.

Last week, the Congressional Budget Office came out with a report that the health care overhaul would provide health insurance to about 3 million more low-income Americans. It also said the cost of expanding coverage will be $1.68 trillion.
Obamacare requires people to buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty.
It was upheld on June 28, by the U.S. Supreme Court on a 5-4 vote. The court ruled the individual mandate to buy health insurance was a legitimate exercise of Congressional taxing authority. The court also made it optional for states to participate in the expansion of Medicaid.
According to information posted by the Montana Policy Institute, a Bozeman-based think tank and publisher of Montana Watchdog, depending on participation rate assumptions, by 2019 Obamacare’s impact on Montana will be seen in additional Medicaid enrollment increases in the range of 57,000 to 79,000, with an additional cost burden for the state budget ranging from $100 million to $155 million.
While the individual mandate drew most of the attention in the Supreme Court debate, the biggest issue for state governments is the expansion of Medicaid coverage, which is now mandated for everyone up to 133 percent of the poverty line.

Medicaid until now has been for poor families with children, pregnant women, the blind, the elderly, and a few other groups. The new law would cover every person with income below the established level.
The Court found that Congress cannot strip current Medicaid funding from states that refuse to go along with federal expansion of the program.
While the federal government is covering some of the initial costs, the burden over the long run falls to the states.
In March 2010, Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock, now the Democratic candidate for governor, refused to join 26 states in opposing Obamacare, saying their lawsuit lacked merit.
In February, 71 Montana GOP lawmakers and organizations became part of a “friend of the court” brief filed by the Cato Institute that urges the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm the 11th Circuit Court ruling that the law passed in 2010 exceeds Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce. The 11th Circuit Court ruling was appealed by the White House.
The health reform law also mandates creation of state-based health exchanges, but again gives states the decision to opt out. Exchanges are online health insurance markets designed to streamline coverage purchasing.
In Montana, lawmakers rejected two attempts to set up the exchanges, thereby setting the stage for the exchanges to be operated by the federal government.

Montana: Phony Veteran’s Front Group “” Lying To Our Veterans.

June 28, 2012 5 comments

[TWG Note: Typical commies…..  They will LIE, CHEAT and STEAL in order to accomplish their diabolical schemes because they know NOBODY but another commie would support their plans to destroy this once great Nation…. and especially our Veterans, who have fought AGAINST communism and fascism. NOT FOR IT.   Our returning Veterans are being labled with “PTSD” before they even step foot on our soil.  Drugged up and “diagnosed” with a mental problem, THEY ARE BEING SYSTEMATICALLY DISARMED ON A MASSIVE SCALE. As a member of several Veterans organizations, you can BET I’m going to expose these LIARS for what they are.]


By Dustin Hurst ǀ

HELENA — In Montana’s U.S. Senate showdown between incumbent Democrat Jon Tester and GOP candidate U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, a coalition of union and environmental groups has struck again — this time masquerading as a military veterans organization.

In an ad released deployed Helena resident and Iraq War veteran Jed Kearns to slam the Republican challenger. Kearns claims Rehberg voted with fellow House Republicans to kill funding for prosthetics studies.


That might be powerful if it were true…(Con’t)




Rehberg Amendment to Restrict Funds Used for a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty Passes in U.S. House Committee on Appropriations

Source: NRAILA


Fairfax, Va. – Congressman Denny Rehberg’s (Mont.) amendment to restrict the use of federal funds for advocating or lobbying for a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has passed the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations by a bi-partisan vote of 30 to 20.  The amendment mandates that no taxpayer funds may be used to negotiate a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty that would restrict the Second Amendment rights of any United States citizen or regulate firearms or ammunition.

“Taxpayer funds should not be used to lobby against our constitutional rights.  Law-abiding Americans have the right to keep and bear arms.  The scope of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty could drastically undermine this constitutional right.  The NRA firmly believes that the U.N. should never be allowed to be the arbiter of American freedom,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director for NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.  “The NRA would like to thank Congressman Rehberg for his leadership and for offering this vital amendment in support of the Second Amendment.”

Montana Ballots In Total Disarray. Thanks, Linda McCulloch.

[TWG Note: Imagine that…  We know our Montana Secretary of State, Linda McCulloch, was up to no good when she and her grunts pushed so hard for the fraud-filled, mail-in voting schemes.  It’s like watching the snake guard the mouse cage.   Montanans need to vote her (and her little grunts too)  off her big, fat, throne.]

From the diaries by Erick . . .

In at least two counties in Montana, the home of a competitive U.S. Senate race that could tip the balance of power in the upper chamber, massive mail-in absentee ballot irregularities have been uncovered by Media Trackers Montana, a non-partisan investigative research organization with operations in five states across the country.  In Broadwater county alone, where Sen. Jon Tester received only 35 percent of the vote in the 2006 general election, up to 600 erroneous mail-in ballots have been reported. Over a dozen Billings-area voters have complained that they received incorrect ballots.  Yellowstone county officials have also reported numerous complaints from voters receiving the wrong ballot.

And to top it all off, even a sample ballot available to individual voters on the Montana Secretary of State’s website is incorrect (this particular ballot allows the voter to select a state representative in two separate districts — districts 68 and 83).  A majority of Montana voters are expected to vote by mail this November.

The Media Trackers investigation found state political officials in total disarray.  One county elections supervisor gave Media Trackers Montana several conflicting reasons for the ballot snafu.  Broadwater County elections officer Rhonda Nelson, a Democrat, told Media Trackers that the county experienced a “computer glitch with the software vendor” which resulted in numerous ballot anomalies. But when pressed for more specificity, Nelson seemed to contradict herself, stating, “This happened because I was in the hospital the day the ballots were approved and while my deputy was watching things, it was one less set of eyes on the process.”  Despite the widespread and significant ballot problems, Nelson told Media Trackers that she was confident in the integrity of the mail-in ballot system and that she planned to “personally call everyone who received a bad ballot and let them know they will be getting correct ballots.”

Scott Aspenlieder, a Republican seeking to unseat current Secretary of State Linda McCulloch, a Democrat, issued a scathing press release after Media Trackers first reported the ballot irregularities.  “I call on our Secretary of State to begin a comprehensive audit of all of the 2012 absentee ballots to identify every single error, and immediately take steps to fix this process so a Montanan’s right to vote is never threatened again,” he wrote.  “This failure of leadership is simply unacceptable, and Montanans deserve better.”

Montana’s primary is scheduled for Tuesday, June 5.  Follow Media Trackers Montana on Facebook and Twitter to receive breaking updates on this developing story.



Montana GOP Primary June 5, 2012

TWG Note: Wondering about the upcoming Montana GOP Primary?  Me too.  This, from one of the TOP Gun Rights and Freedom Advocates in this Nation, Mr. Gary Marbut.  Mr. Marbut is the President of the Montana Shooting Sports Association.  We can Thank Mr. Marbut for a plethora of very successful bills, including the Firearms Freedom Act.  Mr. Marbut has been a vigilant and diligent proponent for our Second and Tenth Amendments, not just here in Montana, but across this Nation.   You can learn more about Mr. Marbut’s efforts and about the Montana Shooting Sports Association by visiting the following sites:

Gary Marbut, Montana Shooting Sports Association

Montana Shooting Sports Association





Here is Mr. Marbut’s assessment of the upcoming Montana. You can find the original text at:


Montana Republican Governor’s Primary Election Race
The View from MSSA

Usually, after pouring over candidate voting records from previous public service, and examining returned candidate questionnaires, MSSA would like to make an endorsement in a race as important as the one for Governor of Montana.

There are seven Republican candidates facing off in the upcoming Primary Election on June 5th.  Historically, to endorse any one candidate, MSSA wants to see one letter grade gap between the endorsed candidate and others, an “A” versus a “C”, or a “B” versus a “D.” (We don’t endorse candidates for the Primary who don’t earn at least a “B” grade.)

In the Republican Primary race for Governor, we simply cannot identify any candidate that is head-and-shoulders better than the rest – with a letter grade gap above the others.  So, MSSA will make no endorsement in the Republican Primary for Governor.

If I ended this message right here, I can imagine that most GOP Governor candidates would be satisfied, although maybe some disappointed.

However, I can also imagine many MSSA members saying or thinking, “Come on Gary.  You know these candidates.  You’ve worked with them, tracked their votes in the Legislature, talked with them, watched their performance, and surveyed them.  We need whatever information you can pass along in order to make an intelligent choice in the Primary.”  Right.

So, I feel MSSA owes its members at least some information about the various candidates.  In lieu of an MSSA endorsement, let me tell you what I know and what I think (I’ll mix the two) about the various candidates.

I tend to want to place political figures on a spectrum from liberal to conservative.  Because those are fuzzy terms as commonly used, let me tell you how I define them.  I think of a modern (not classic) liberal as a person who tolerates or favors shifting power, choice and money from people to government.  I think of a conservative as a person who would prefer to shift power, choice and money from government to people.  Those are generally the definitions I will apply here.  I will also discuss what is known about each candidate’s position on the right to keep and bear arms, MSSA’s prime focus.

As far as I know, there are no out-and-out liberals in this Republican Primary race, but some appear to be more or less conservative than others.  Here’s what I know or believe, working from the most conservative to the least conservative. (BTW, these candidates will ALL probably end up disliking all or parts of my assessment – comes with the turf if I’m to give MSSA members an honest review.  I know most of these candidates personally, and count them as friends.  I hope they’re still friends after they read my comments.)

Bob Fanning & Joel Boniek

The most conservative of the candidates is Bob Fanning.  Fanning has a good grasp of constitutional principles.  He’s a firm advocate for states’ rights.  He has far more time and energy invested in wolf control than any other candidate, maybe than all candidates combined.  Fanning has been a CEO and a member of the Chicago Board of Trade.  He understands economics.  Fanning returned a great MSSA candidate questionnaire.  Bob likes to describe himself as a “Montanan by choice; not by accident.”  He moved here over a decade ago to deliberately become a Montanan.  Fanning has not previously held any public office in Montana.  Bob buys big game tags every year and is an elk hunter.  He is not as acquainted with the details and processes of state government as some other candidates.  Fanning hasn’t raised a lot of money, and he got off to a late start with is campaign.  His running mate is former Rep. Joel Boniek, a philosophically-pure guy who carried the Montana Firearms Freedom Act for MSSA when it passed in 2009.  I’d say Fanning’s chances of getting into the Governor’s office are a long shot.  He’d have a steep learning curve if he got there, but would be something of a breath of fresh air for Montana in the Governor’s chair.

Ken Miller & Bill Gallagher

Former State Senator Ken Miller is very nearly as conservative as Fanning.  Miller also has a strong bent towards states’ rights and individual liberty.  Miller has FAR more effort invested in the Governor race than any other candidate.  He’s been actively campaigning for over a year and has crisscrossed Montana multiple times meeting locally with any groups of people who wanted to meet him.  Ken was Chairman of the state GOP for a cycle, and managed to shake up and out that good-old-boy GOP structure some to make the GOP a more effective organization.  As GOP Chairman, he was willing to make more hard decisions than some others who have held the post.  When in the Montana Senate, Miller always supported MSSA’s pro-gun bills.  Miller returned a very good MSSA candidate questionnaire, although with reservation about MSSA’s proposal to stimulate smokeless powder and primer manufacture in Montana.  Ken and his wife Peggy are both big game hunters.  Ken grew up in Montana, and has been a successful small business owner in Montana.  In statewide polling, Miller continues to run a close second place in terms of support among likely Republican voters.  Miller’s running mate is Bill Gallagher, a Helena attorney currently elected to the Montana Public Service Commission.  Because both Miller and Gallagher have served in elected public office at the state level, they have a good grasp of how state government works and perhaps, because of that, an enhanced ability to translate Miller’s philosophy into deeds.

I see a bit of a gap on the liberal-to-conservative spectrum between these candidates and the next two.

Neil Livingstone & Ryan Zinke

Neil Livingstone is an interesting guy, albeit a bit mysterious.  Although born in Montana, Neil has spent much of his life immersed in the murky world of international business, intelligence and clandestine operations, both in Washington, D.C., and overseas.  Livingstone speaks forcefully about his commitment to constitutional principles, and he definitely wishes to roll back what he sees as extreme environmentalists’ suppression of the natural resource industry in Montana.  Livingstone returned a fine candidate questionnaire, although he had some un-detailed concerns about MSSA’s “Sheriffs First” proposal.  Livingstone has not held elected office in Montana.  While expressing strong support for the right to keep and bear arms, Livingstone did select a running mate, State Senator Ryan Zinke, who formerly expressed a very definite opinion that “civilians” should not be allowed to own .50-caliber rifles.  Livingstone quickly explains that he and former SEAL commander Zinke have come to terms about .50-caliber rifles, and Zinke now whole-heartedly supports civilian ownership of such firearms, as does Livingstone.  Livingstone has a forceful personality.  There are concerns expressed by some, however, that he has not spent enough time in Montana in recent years to have a good sense of Montana issues and Montana culture.  Livingstone has not hunted in Montana, but says he has hunted in Eurasia and Africa.  Livingstone is supported by a number of former high-ranking military and government officials of excellent national repute, many of whom are not Montana residents.  Were Livingstone elected Montana Governor, one gets the impression he would kick ass, and that the timid and naysayers would do well to keep out of his way.  With his long employment, connections and experience with the federal government, one would hope that his total allegiance would be to Montana, rather than to the federal government or influences from D.C. or elsewhere.

Corey Stapleton & Bob Keenan

Both Stapleton and Keenan are former state senators, both with good conservative credentials, and both of them are known as proven supporters of the right to keep and bear arms – excellent guys.  Stapleton is a graduate of Annapolis, a strong recommendation by anyone’s standard.  Stapleton did not return MSSA’s candidate questionnaire, but, based on his past votes in the Montana Senate, I believe he would support most of the issues MSSA plans to have before the 2013 Legislature.  Because both Stapleton and Keenan have long experience in the Legislature, they also know how state government works and how to translate their philosophy into deeds at the state level.  They would also be realistic, even pragmatic, about what a Governor can accomplish.   Stapleton’s campaign has not been highly visible. There is a concern that because Stapleton has been (and presumably still is) an officer in the U.S. military, the federal government might be able to “pull rank” and command his loyalty in any disagreement between Montana and the federal government.

Continuing to work from the conservative end of the political spectrum gets us to:

Rick Hill & Jon Sonju

Rick Hill was formerly elected to represent Montana in the U.S. House of Representatives, and his running mate, Jon Sonju, has been in the Montana Senate.  Both are experienced hands in the process of politics.  Hill is currently thought my many to be the front-runner in this seven-way Republican Primary.  He is reported to lead in fundraising, and is known to be supported by many “old guard” Republican figures.  Although Hill did not return MSSA’s candidate questionnaire, he did speak to the MSSA Annual Meeting in Helena in March (as did Fanning, Miller and Livingstone), where he expressed strong support for the right to keep and bear arms.  It is unknown how this strong expression will translate to the details of MSSA’s legislative agenda in 2013.  I expect he would support most of those issues, but with no returned candidate questionnaire and no voting record from the Montana Legislature, that’s just my educated guess.  Hill is reputed to occasionally hunt upland game birds.  Sonju has been a solid supporter of gun issues in the Legislature, and his family manufactures firearms in the Kalispell area.  It is argued by some that the nature of Hill’s work and experience in D.C. and Montana may make him more vulnerable to attacks by the Democrats in the General Election, making it difficult for him to win the General Election, although Democrats will certainly attack whomever becomes the Republican candidate for the General Election.  Hill recently released a statement asserting need to better manage wolves to prevent negative impact on game herds.  While quite welcome, this recent interest by Hill is seen by some as being a bit late and lacking the strong intent needed to resurrect Montana’s predator-decimated game herds.

Jim Lynch & Al Olszewski

Current Governor Brian Schweitzer (a Democrat) appointed Jim Lynch to be Director of the Montana Department of Transportation.  In that office, Lynch says that he has made maintenance of the Montana highway system much more effective and efficient.  He wishes to bring the same management techniques to the Governor’s Office.  Lynch has been an insider in state government long enough to know how things work, although he hasn’t been involved in the political machinations used to turn eggs into an omelet.  Lynch did return a very good MSSA candidate questionnaire, a plus for him, although MSSA puts more credence in a voting record history than in a candidate questionnaire.  I know nothing about Lynch’s running mate, Al Olszewski.  It is said that Lynch has made numerous political donations on record to Democrat candidates, although that may just be an unspoken job requirement to work for Governor Schweitzer.  It is my fuzzy opinion that Lynch is probably a pretty good manager, but I have not heard others who know him speak of his conservative philosophy or credentials.

Jim O’Hara & Scott Swingley

Jim O’Hara is elected as a County Commissioner of Choteau County.  He did not return MSSA’s candidate questionnaire.  I haven’t met O’Hara and really don’t know anything about Jim or his running mate, Scott Swingley.


I’ve tried seven times to write a conclusion, but I’m just not getting there.  I guess you’ll have to draw your own conclusion.  I hope this has been helpful.



Montana Senator Jon Tester…. K Street’s Fattest Whore.

April 15, 2012 1 comment

Tester’s Bounty

AP Images

AP Images

BY: – April 13, 2012 2:50 pm

The lobbying industry’s favorite senator has turned Big Bank protections into a flood of campaign cash. Sen. Jon Tester (D., Mont.) received nearly $300,000 from lobbyists in 2012, making him the top recipient of K Street dollars, according to the Center for Responsive Politics…(Con’t)


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