Racism and the Yellowstone County Republican Central Committee Chair


olsenJennifer Olsen, a petroleum engineer who was unemployed for years while the oil and gas  industry was booming around her was recently honored in the Billings Gazette’s annual “40 under 40″ segment.  The newspaper lists her many jobs, never mentioning that each employer was actually her father (Eric Olsen)  and the companies were often idle due to “government oppression” or some other excuse Jennifer and Eric Olsen used while soliciting donations to progress their political agenda.  During their long period of unemployment, Jennifer and her father founded Montana Shrugged, a “tea party” group that advocates selective federalism and operates in a divisive and dishonest manner.  Jennifer Olsen also holds the chairwoman position on the Yellowstone County Republican Central Committee.  In her free time, she files frivolous and unfounded political practices complaints and apparently scours the internet searching for racist anti-Obama material.

My disdain for the Olsen family is obvious.  Posts like the one captured in the following screenshot from Jennifer Olsen’s Facebook page today are why.

olsen screenshot

Thanks to the first amendment, Americans are able to think whatever they would like as well as express those thoughts, but such expression does has consequences.  I discourage Yellowstone County Republican precinct chairs and legislators from turning a blind eye to this blatantly racist post.  If Ms Olsen is not held responsible for her actions, we send a message that this behavior is acceptable and perhaps these views are even condoned by the GOP.  The Republican Party was founded on abolishing slavery.  Why do we now tolerate our leaders advocating bigotry in a public forum? Bigotry is rooted in ignorance and the Republican Party should purge this cancer from the party.  Shame on you, Jennifer Olsen.  You are a disgrace to your party, to the central committee you chair,  to Montana, and to America.

UPDATE:  According to David Crisp of Billings Blog, in a question post by a Billings Outpost freelancer, Jennifer Olsen responded as follows:

“The blog posting this about me is all fabricated. This is not the first time they have made up stories about me as writer, nicole french, and I had a falling out a few years ago and since then she writes this nonsense.
“Liberals always try to take our focus away from real issues by doing things like this. It is absolutely not true.”

 

Injustice: Marc Racicot’s Montana Legacy: Part I


Questions Surround Racicot’s Endorsement of Beth Baker

RINO Racicot

Former “Republican” Montana Governor Marc Racicot‘s letter to the editor (QCN, Sept. 29, 2010) endorsing Beth Baker for Montana Supreme Court Justice, may not be as puzzling as it appears at first glance….

Beth Baker beat Nels Swandal in the race for Montana Supreme Court Justice earlier this week.  Although Swandal was, from the beginning, the underdog in the race, many consider Racicot’s endorsement as one that sealed Swandal’s fate.  While Baker campaigned as a non-partisan candidate, Swandal refused to deny his conservative values. While she may portray herself otherwise, an analysis of Beth Baker’s political contributions (to only democrats or “non-partisan” judicial candidates over the last 17 years) combined with her endorsements from liberal environmentalist groups (her husband Tim Baker is former head of Montana Wilderness Association and currently their legislative campaign coordinator) imply that Baker is hardly non-partisan.

Let’s look at Baker and Racicot’s history…. In 1989, Beth Baker became an assistant attorney general with the Montana Department of Justice after four years as a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Charles Lovell.  As assistant attorney general, Baker worked under Republican Attorney General Marc Racicot and Democrat Attorney General Joe Mazurek and became chief deputy of the department in 1997.  She is currently in private practice as the managing partner for the law firm Hughes, Kellner, Sullivan and Alke, PLLP in Helena.  Racicot said in his letter to the editor, in reference to Baker:

…Montanans could elect no better candidate to their Supreme Court than Beth Baker.

…we both believe that Beth is the embodiment of what a judge ought to be.

…In this race, and especially with this candidate, our party affiliations are irrelevant.

One questions why a “conservative” former governor/RNC Chair/Bush campaign manager/DC lobbyist would publicly endorse- jointly with a Democrat- a clearly liberal environmentalist with no judicial experience.

Next:  Part II

Anything Short of Condemnation is a Compliment to Liberals


 


Liberals: Do as I Say, Not as I Do

In the Republican state senator’s op-ed October 27, 2010 in the Whitefish Pilot, Ryan Zinke wrote the following:

 

At the local level, the big event is the house race to fill the seat vacated by the Honorable Mike Jopek. It’s a tight race between Derek Skees, a Republican, versus Will Hammerquist, representing the Democrat side. Aside from all the negative campaign tactics, the truth is that the two candidates are very different and your vote matters.

Derek Skees is a conservative who champions cutting government, state sovereignty, strong property rights and believes that economic recovery is best achieved through the free market. If you believe in those ideals, Derek is your man. Will Hammerquist, is a moderate with a background in environmental non-profit organizations and is an advocate for government-funded health care and conservation easements, and supports the use of government subsidies and tax credits for economic recovery. If you believe in those ideals, mark Will on your ballot.

Ryan Zinke is listed as a supporter on campaign literature of Derek Skees yet liberal bloggers have somehow chosen to interpret Zinke’s statement as some sort of compliment to Hammerquist.  James Conner of the Flathead Memo wrote:

Talk about damning with faint praise! The “…two candidates are very different and your vote matters.” In my book, that’s a backdoor endorsement of Will Hammerquist.

For months far-left Montana bloggers (are there any other kind?)  have tried to paint Derek Skees as a extremist. The campaigns have become increasingly negative and voters are tired of the mud-slinging.  Zinke’s statement was an endorsement of conservative ideals and by presenting it in this way,  he achieved respect from even the liberals.  Montana Cowgirl even referred to him as “the highly respected State Senator Ryan Zinke“.  My interpretation- and I’m not a member of any organized political party- of Zinke’s description of Hammerquist was:  big government advocate with no experience in the private sector supports Obama-care and government land grabs as well as redistributing your wealth.

Ryan Zinke’s words confirmed Derek Skees’s conservative values while neither endorsing nor alienating Hammerquist or his supporters, which I think is a wise strategy.  It is indeed a tight race and the candidates are very different.  The choice should therefore be very simple.  Your vote matters.

HD47 candidate – Pam Ellis – Dishonest and Unethical


I’ve quickly learned that politics is a dirty game.  With only 22 ½ days until the election on November 2 the complaints from democrat candidates just keep stacking up in the office of the political practices commissioner.  One must wonder if they even have merit.  Are they factual complaints or just those to try and smear the other candidate because somebody is a sore loser?

That is the pile of candidates I’d throw Pam Ellis into among others this election cycle.  Pam Ellis is running against James Knox in House District 47.  Is it truly Knox’s fault that he has a larger grassroots base to help him campaign?  We all know that with everything happening in Washington lately it is a great year to be a conservative Republican which is what James Knox is.

So, when Ellis used School District 2 in order to campaign I knew that this was not supposed to be ‘politics as usual’.  For your information, here is a copy of various emails which went back and forth between Ellis and employees of SD2.

Too often candidates file complaints which stand on no grounds and are certainly without substance.  So, why is it that when a regular everyday person attempts to file a complaint against a candidate they are told by the political practices commission that there is no ground to stand on?

On Saturday, September 25, 2010, the Billings community came together to help raise money for the Billings Schools at Saturday Live. This is a yearly event that was started 18 years ago and is run by the Education Foundation for Billings Schools. Its purpose is to raise money for Billings schools which is done predominantly by students from each school running tables with various activities that people pay to participate. Some tables, particularly the ones for elementary schools, have parents and teachers present throughout the day but in the case of older kids they are often left to run their tables alone with teachers and/or parents periodically checking on them.

Our high school student worked the Skyview table at Saturday Live and was directly affected by Pam Ellis’ campaign practices. After setup and the departure of their teacher for the day Pam Ellis approached our student’s table and stated that she had a basket of “sports schedules” to leave at their table. She did not introduce herself to the students at the table or her intentions but did indicate that she had spoken to their teacher and that permission had been given to leave a basket of these schedules on their table for people to take. It is important to note that Pam did not stay by this table during the day. Her campaign materials were left in the possession of the Skyview Choir students. As Pam left she also gave each student a copy of her schedule. These schedules, while having high school sports events on them, are clearly campaign pieces for Pam Ellis.

While following up on the events from Saturday I did find evidence that the Skyview Teacher had received a solicitation for assistance and permission to display campaign materials directly from Pam Ellis using Billings Schools email system. It is clear from the emails that permission was granted by the teacher to display the campaign materials but this does not clear Pam of her intentions, actions or use of the school email system. The teacher also clearly indicates that the email she received does not indicate that the materials are politically oriented which led her to believe these were nothing more than schedules.

See attached email thread – note it reads in reverse chronological order

During conversations with Krista Hertz and Julie Whitworth at the Education Foundation, I learned that a representative of Pam Ellis had called in advance of Saturday Live to discuss her plans to distribute her campaign materials by passing them out. Both Krista and Julie indicated that they did convey their preference that they not distribute materials at the event and that the people at the event were there for the kids not political purposes. They were also unaware that Pam had actually left a number of campaign pieces at the table with students, rather than handing them out as indicated in the inquiry, until I brought it to their attention. Julie Whitworth indicated that Pam had asked about volunteering at a table, which by appearance, would be to justify the “advertising” she had left at the table. As a business this would be appropriate if she followed the Saturday Live sponsor rules but she did not.

Additionally, as a candidate this does not justify her actions and demonstrates a willful effort to subvert Saturday Live’s requests and campaign practices as it is not appropriate for a candidate to be a sponsor at a school related event.

By leaving campaign materials at the Skyview table it clearly establishes an association of Pam Ellis to Skyview, that particular Skyview class, the teacher and Skyview students as well as the permission of the Education Foundation for her to use their event for this purpose. This is no different than a business displaying another business’s materials at their tradeshow booth or office. This proximity creates a positive association and by extension an endorsement. None of the parties involved endorse Pam Ellis nor is it ethical to suggest this connection. Additionally, her practices targeted minors and their causes as a delivery mechanism. It is not reasonable to put students in the position of deciding if this is appropriate or not – particularly when they have been told a teacher approved it. As a former teacher and administrator she would know this to be true.

In conclusion, Pam Ellis’ experience as a teacher and administrator for 25 years and as a candidate would make her acutely aware of campaign rules and how they pertain to schools and related events.

Her email to the teacher to request assistance in distributing her campaign materials is a clear violation of campaign practices in Section 2‐2‐121 (http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/2/2/2‐2‐121.htm) as well as Skyview and School District 2 policies. Additionally her indiscretion has caused unnecessary scrutiny and stress for Skyview and it teachers.

Her distribution methods of campaign materials certainly misrepresents Skyview, the Skyview table and Skyview students views and implies an endorsement of her by her using their table at Saturday Live.

This practice is dishonest and is misleading as it falsely leaves the impression that those involved endorse her. The collection of actions taken by Pam and her representatives are unethical as the entire approach is centered on the using of minor students and their school’s table as the vehicle to distribute campaign materials at a school fundraiser event. These actions violate section 13‐35‐301 (http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/13/35/13‐35‐301.htm) as her tactics are misleading and unethical.

Obscure PAC Uses Deceptive Propaganda to Influence Montana Senate Race


Absentee ballots will arrive today in 140,000 Montana mailboxes.  Hoping to influence outcomes in the contentious Montana Senate District 25 race between incumbent  Republican Roy Brown and challenger Democrat Kendall “Tax Hike” Van Dyk, “Values Energy & Growth PAC” recently sent mailers to arrive immediately before absentee ballots.  Loaded with distortions, misrepresentations, and outrageous lies, the mailer portrays Roy Brown as a “Big Oil” tycoon who seeks to murder trout, vitiate the Yellowstone River and otherwise rape the earth as he protects the interests of big oil companies. In reality, it has been 14 years since Brown worked in the oil industry and nearly 3 decades since he was employed by Marathon Oil- although in the ad,  Roy was pictured wearing a “Marathon” label  (and a poorly-Photoshopped one at that)on his shirt.

Note : all red text below was added by ME to point out the distortions and lies.  Please click on image to expand to full-size.

Values Energy & Growth PAC

I'd take "Big Oil" Roy Brown over Kendall "TAX HIKE" Van Dyk any day.

LIES

The left loses more credibility each day.

A PAC is a political committee organized for the purpose of raising and spending money to elect and defeat candidates.   Unfortunately, some  don’t register their organizations with the FEC or the state and many that do register, don’t disclose their involvements.  Just who is the group “Values Energy & Growth PAC“? Registered to a Bozeman Post Office Box, Christopher Cady of Bozeman is listed as the  caliginous group’s treasurer.  Other than that,  little is known about this group.  A Google search of the group’s name returns nothing of value and searching the Federal Elections Commission website also turns up nothing. Update: The group abbreviated as “VegPAC” (how appropriate) filed a C2 in Montana on September 30,2010.  Although it provides little additional information, the filing claims intent to “support and/or oppose legislative candidates”.

Numerous 2010 Montana primary elections were potentially  influenced by last-minute attack ads and mailers from difficult-to-track  shadowy groups.  In one such race, Montana HD 57 , Debra Bonogofsky was defeated by Dan Kennedy after voters received a mailer criticizing Bonogofsky’s failure to return the group’s survey.  Bonogofsky is, according to Republican party insiders, a RINO (Republican In Name Only) and is listed as such on rinopoacher.com.  Although she was one of only two Republicans in Montana to receive the endorsement of the radical environmentalist group Montana Conservation Voters (who has endorsed Kendall Van Dyk in the SD 25 race) in June’s primaries, she denies that she is a RINO and isn’t willing to surrender without a fight.  After considering an illegal party change  (Democrats entertained the idea of her running in the general election as their candidate, which says much about her “conservatism”), Debra instead launched a write-in campaign.  It will remain to be seen if voters will regard Debra’s persistence as that of a sore loser-it is easier to blame special interest groups for a defeat than to look within.

If you have questions today as you are voting from the comfort of your own home, don’t hesitate to research further. Ask questions.  Know your candidates. If you aren’t familiar, information is available on the voting record, issue positions, and group ratings for most candidates at Project Vote Smart.  This year, absentee voters can also check the secretary of state’s website to make sure their ballots are received by the county.