Montana’s Top Elected Democrats In Violation of Ethics Laws


Isn’t it time for Montana’s top elected Democrats to start setting a good example?

Birds of a feather….

While Governor Brian Schweitzer claims the home of the governor is exempt, Republicans believe that a fundraiser held Monday October 18, 2010 at the Governor’s mansion is in violation of a state law banning use of government resources for political work.  Montana law states, “a public officer or public employee may not use
public time, facilities, equipment, supplies, personnel, or funds to
solicit support for or opposition to any political committee, the
nomination or election of any person to public office, or the passage of
a ballot issue.” (MCA 2-2-121(3)(a)).  Among co-hosts of this party were the state’s top law enforcement officer, Steve Bullock, the state’s top elections officer, Linda McCulloch, and a number of partisan lobbyists.  We will keep this in mind when Bullock is running for governor in the future.

The chairman of the Montana Republican Party, Will Deschamps:

“I have a number of questions: How does the state’s top elections official justify her involvement in a partisan event that appears to violate ethics laws? How does the state’s top law enforcement official justify his involvement in a partisan event that appears to violate ethics laws? Is Kendall Van Dyk ignorant of the Montana definition of ethical, or did he flout it deliberately? Are we giving lobbyists free reign to use the people’s property for their political arm twisting? And when will Governor Schweitzer stop using taxpayer funds for partisan political purposes?”

Van Dyk has a history of  flouting the law so this should come as no surprise.

Van Dyk is running a dirty campaign against Roy Brown in the SD25 race in Billings.  Voters of the district have received  numerous nasty mailers sent out by Van Dyk and his friends.  Values Energy & Growth PAC, a new shadowy political action committee is responsible for many of the attack mailers and ads airing now.

It appears Van Dyk’s platform of one issue- stream access- isn’t enough to win a race so he is resorting to criticism of the incumbent senator’s home decor and other very worthy attacks.  Kudos to Roy Brown for handling this sort of rubbish with class.

The villain in the governor’s mansion, Brian Schweitzer should know better… and I’m sure he does.  He simply doesn’t care.  Vote for Roy Brown, send Kendall Van Dyk downstream.

Veg PAC Strikes Again


 

Vote Roy Brown SD25, James Knox HD47

 

 

Values, Energy & Growth PAC, the shadowy new Montana PAC responsible for the ridiculous mailers packed with lies about Roy Brown (which interestingly used the same photos of Brown as Kendall Van Dyk’s campaign) is now weighing in on the Knox/Ellis race in HD 48 in Billings.   The new mailer encourages citizens to call in bogus “privacy invasion” claims to the already busy authorities.  While Billings police are investigating homicides, they will be interrupted to look into absurd claims that James Knox’s signs are spying on private citizens.  It appears that those responsible for stealing Knox’s signs don’t appreciate the cameras and GPS units attached to random campaign signs.

Christopher Cady of Bozeman is the group’s treasurer.  I encourage all concerned citizens to contact him immediately or better yet, contact the Montana state Commissioner of Political Practices to report these illegal mailers. The candidates benefiting from the Veg PAC’s propaganda owe Montanans an explanation.  Call out this well-funded organization, denounce their tactics.  Mud-slinging isn’t welcome in Montana.  If a candidate cannot win on merit, perhaps they shouldn’t run and if Van Dyk and Ellis remain silent, we can only believe they condone or endorse these attacks.

Political Playground Bully “Big Government” Kendall Van Dyk’s Diabolical Campaign of Distortions


Montana Democrats to Vote Against “Big Government” Van Dyk

Although it is a key Montana race, I hate to continue to write about the Kendall Van Dyk campaign’s hypocrisy and mud-slinging.  The Montana Cowgirl blog’s posts here and here today combined with breaking news that Democrats are tiring of their candidate have, however; warranted another post.

According to sources within the Montana left, Democratic leaders are panicking over a trend they have noticed in Billings voters.  Apparently democrats in SD25 are seriously favoring conservative businessman Roy Brown over radical environmentalist community organizer, Kendall Van Dyk. Whether these voters fear big government,  are tired of the deceptive ads by Van Dyk and his minions, or they simply realize the importance of this election, voters from all ends of the political spectrum are showing support for Republican incumbent senator Roy Brown.

Rumors swirling about Brown’s covert veganism have likely contributed to this trend (the PETA crowd surely approves) but many voters are simply saying that they simply cannot elect someone with a one-issue advocacy history. Thanks in part to Van Dyk, Montana stream access laws have been clarified, but he has accomplished little else in his time in the House. His reputation for ego-driven tirades and failure to be a team player is obviously a contributing factor in this important election.

Billings Gazette readers commenting online have mentioned with increasing frequency that although they are Democrats or they voted for Kendall Van Dyk in his last House election, they’ll be voting this time for Roy Brown. Roy’s accessibility has been lauded while Van Dyk  frequently resorts to using uninformed youngsters carrying Droids to canvas neighborhoods in SD25. Roy has consistently campaigned with dignity, always on a platform of why he deserves your vote as opposed to why his opponent does not. His honorable tactics have been rewarded with attack ads filled with lies and distortions about his career and lifestyle. Although collaboration would be illegal, it seems like quite a coincidence that mailers sent by Values, Energy, & Growth PAC use the very same photo of Roy Brown in a long black coat and a red scarf as those sent by Van Dyk.   Montanans, Democrats and Republicans alike want candidates to know that we are tired of malicious campaigns.

Montana’s economy has been struggling to keep up with the spending of the democrats in power and Montanans from the left and right of the political spectrum are realizing that we can’t spend our way out of this recession. The reality for most Americans is that our federal taxes are going to be skyrocketing. With Montana’s projected state budget shortfall of nearly a half BILLION dollars, increases on state taxes are almost certain. Van Dyk hasn’t ever met a tax hike he didn’t like while Roy Brown was listed by Legistats as the third most fiscally conservative member of our state’s senate.

Maybe voters have decided that voting for local and state legislators who support Obama’s destruction of our nation is a bad move….but whatever the reason, Billings voters will be sending clear messages to the big Montana government on November 2nd, 2010.  Gutter politics should not be rewarded.  Ask Kendall Van Dyk to stop being the political playground bully and to keep his campaign clean.

25 Middle School Suicide Attempts in Poplar, MT Last Year


Perhaps Poplar parents should look in the mirror when looking for someone to blame

UPDATE:  Mother files lawsuit against school, state after son’s suicide.

 

Recently, the first- year principal of Poplar Middle School asked that a group of students remain behind after an assembly.  Because each of those students was receiving failing grades in at least one subject, the principal used a pep talk of sorts in an attempt to motivate them to work harder.

Many parents of failing students were offended that their children were singled out and various complaints ensued claiming that their children had been unnecessarily shamed. The principal apologized to each of the students and  last night several parents met behind closed doors to complain to the school board.  Asking for the principal’s termination or involuntary cultural training, parents appeared to be seeking someone to blame.

Poplar Montana is a small community located in Northeastern Montana. Its widespread poverty, alcoholism, violent crime, and unemployment provide a sharp contrast to the peaceful friendly image common in Montana’s small towns.  Bars grace the windows of area businesses, drunks stumble across the street in broad daylight, and it is common for family members to stab each other. Police corruption in Poplar is legendary.  Is it any real surprise that children aren’t happy growing up in Poplar?

Last year, 5 Poplar Middle School students committed suicide.  There were 20 other attempts as well.  Out of the total number of middle school students (140), 25 attempted suicide and 5 were successful.  That is a staggering number that for the most part has evaded media attention.   The Poplar Middle School suicides are far more disturbing than a principal’s unpopular new tactics.  Obviously something ISN’T working in the Poplar school system, perhaps parents should be looking in the mirror when they want someone to blame.

Montana Environmentalist Democrats: Protection from thee, not from me


Montana Democrats Fail to Practice What They Preach

While we are all accustomed to receiving campaign literature, the amount, frequency and content targeting incumbent Montana state senator Roy Brown (SD 25) by either his opponent or  those working on his behalf  are not only excessive, but bordering on libelous.

Many Montana Democrats campaign on their “environmentally conscious” platforms,  so one would expect them to practice what they preach.  Perhaps they should consider an all email campaign to protect our forests.  Since absentee ballots were sent out early this week, voters in MT SD25 have received an astronomical number of expensive 2 sided, full color pro-Kendall Van Dyk mailers.  Some households have reported receiving twenty or more of them since Tuesday.

All Montanans care about maintaining the beauty and future of our great state.  To criticize a candidate as ecologically irresponsible while Van Dyk himself condones and supports forest devastation is rather hypocritical.  How many other issues does Van Dyk  promote while his lifestyle indicates otherwise?

The hypocrisy of not only the mailer content but the premise of mailers themselves is an issue that needs to be addressed.  Campaigning as an environmentally conscious candidate while ridiculously portraying your opponent as a tyrannical oil baron is duplicitous- especially when the eco-friendly candidate is partaking in the earth-raping deforestation by mailing large postcards in bulk.

These mailers, varying in size from large to gargantuan have no mention of the use of recycled paper or soy ink.  None of them display any indication of  biodegradability or if perhaps the liberal candidate has chosen to offset  contributions to our environmental demise by planting trees.

Our candidates for elected office strive to shine as heroes in one aspect of their lives and/or careers. When environmentalism is that aspect,  one expects to see that candidate promoting it in not only words, but actions.

An former boss once told me that the secret to his success was to determine what issues and characteristics were important to his employers and to then make those things important to him.  WE employ elected officials, isn’t it time our needs are important to them? Masquerading as “green” and condemning your opponent for being pro-energy is diabolical unless those values are also actions.  It is time that we hold our candidates to their campaign promises and start asking the tough questions.  We may or may not approve of Roy Brown’s stances on the issues, but we can all admit that they are consistent with his lifestyle.

If Van Dyk is MAKING Laws for Us, He Should Also Follow Them


Gasp! Say it isn’t so! Democratic Montana State Representative Kendall Van Dyk who is challenging Senator Roy Brown in Montana’s Senate District 25, posted photos of his completed voting ballots on his Facebook page.  One was posted May 11, 2010 and the other was posted October 5, 2010.
Based on my admittedly amateur interpretation of Montana Elections Law after researching the statutes here, it appears that Montana’s fearless environmental savior, Representative Kendall Van Dyk, is indeed in violation of MCA 13-35-201 for photographing and posting his marked ballot on his Facebook profile for all to view.  He completed his absentee ballot and posted an image of it on his Facebook profile on May 11, 2010 with the words ” hope your ballot looks like this”.  After completing his general election absentee ballot October 5, 2010, he again violated Montana election code when he photographed  his completed ballot and posted the image on his Facebook profile with a similar message that served to potentially bully or intimidate constituents who have yet to vote.

13-35-201. Electors and ballots. (1) An elector may not show the contents of the elector’s ballot to anyone after it is marked. An elector may not place any mark upon the ballot by which it may be identified as the one voted by the elector.

The Official Photoprez.com blog is a free platform for sharing and viewing photos of the American election experience.  Their article,  How to Photograph the Election and Your Vote (November 2008), lists the election laws and interpretations for each state as a guide to the legality of photographing votes on election day.  The section on Montana listed the following information and FAQ.  I have underlined the core components related to this particular violation by Rep Van Dyk:

 

Montana

Can you photograph or video your vote inside the polling station–either a paper ballot or electronic screen?

Not after marked: A Montana voter “may not show the contents of [his or her] ballot to anyone after it is marked.” MT ST 13-35-201

(available at http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/MCA/13/35/13-35-201.htm). Photographing or videotaping an unmarked ballot does not appear to be restricted.

Can you photograph or video yourself voting inside the polling station?

Probably: Although a voter is restricted from disclosing the contents of his or her marked ballot, photographing or videotaping the ballot before marking a vote, or the voting process generally does not appear to be restricted.

 

Can you photograph or video others voting or the working of the polling station from within it?

 

Maybe: You may not photograph or video any voters marked ballot, but there does not appear to be any restriction on photographing or videotaping other voters within the polling place itself. Election officials in Montana restrict media access to the actual polling place, but you should be able to photograph or video the operation of the polling place while you are voting yourself. If your actions are seen as disruptive, however, election officials may ask you to stop. To be safe, you should consult the chief election judge about how best to record your voting experience while minimizing disruption. See MT ST 13-35-203 (available at

http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/MCA/13/35/13-35-203.htm), MT ST 13-35-218 (available at http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/MCA/13/35/13-35-218.htm).

 

 

 

Can you photograph or video the polling station from outside it?

 

There does not appear to be any restriction on photography or videotaping a polling place from outside the actual building.

 

 

Can you photograph or video people leaving the voting station?

Without delving into rights of publicity, there doesn’t appear to be any restriction on photographing or videotaping people leaving the polling place.

 

 

Can you ask people questions leaving the polling station and can you video or blog their answers?

Questions about votes must be outside: Montana does not allow asking anyone “within a polling place or any building in which an election is being held” about how they voted or plan to vote. MT ST 13-35-211(3) (available at http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/MCA/13/35/13-35-211.htm). Additionally, the Montana secretary of state has restricted media access to the actual polling room. It is likely that once you have completed voting, you will be required to leave the polling room, but questions unrelated to votes for/against a particular candidate or initiative should be permissible there.

 


While some may feel that even mentioning these violations of our state’s election laws is being small-minded (or in the words of Mr Van Dyk, “intellectually small”) or petty, we must not forget that Mr Van Dyk holds his opponents to often impossible standards of perfection that he obviously isn’t willing to maintain for himself.  For instance, he filed a complaint against Roy Brown alleging violations of MCA 13-37-217, 13-37-229, and 13-37-231 concerning a $100 campaign contribution made to Brown in the name David Berg instead of David Fulwiler (David Fulwiler and David Berg are actually the same person which Mr Van Dyk acknowledged).  The Commissioner of Political Practices dismissed the complaint after determining that it held no merit whatsoever.
I’m typically not one to be preoccupied with trivial matters but this candidate seems almost desperate in his paltry attempt to discredit Roy Brown over a $100 campaign contribution.  In the today’s dirty political world, I doubt that Van Dyk’s minor violations of election ethics laws  but if one plans to dish it out, they also need to be prepared to take it.

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.