“Running on Empty” Speaker Jeff Essmann Runs From Constituents


Earlier this week, I received several invitations to the Billings stop of the “Running on Empty” bus tour by Americans for Prosperity.  Slated to speak at the event were Sen. Jeff Essmann (author of the infamous “black market” marijuana bill, SB423), Rep. Tom McGillvray (who at at an RLCC fundraiser stated that Montana was wasting its money on meth prevention as our real problem in Montana is medical marijuana) and Rep. Krayton Kerns, who pretends to be more constitutional and liberty-minded than he is in reality. The guest speakers were greeted by far more protesters than conservative supporters. Someone in the crowd called McGillvray a “commie”, Kerns was asked if he’d returned his federal farm subsidy welfare check and the cowardly star speaker, Jeff Essmann, couldn’t be bothered to attend. Prior to the event, representatives from the Ken Miller for Governor campaign were overheard calling to warn others of the opposition. Why are so many candidates for governor afraid of their constituents?  Opponents of McGillvray and Kerns outnumbered supporters at least 3 to 1 although some reports indicated that over 100 protesters attended while 20 or so were friendly.

Where’s Essmann?

Essmann may have been home analyzing the results of the recent solicitiation letters he sent to constituents as he explores a potential Gubernatorial bid.  Oddly enough, he omitted authoring SB423 in the lengthy resume’ he included in the letters.  He has repeatedly claimed that droves of his constituents begged and pleaded for a repeal of Montana’s medical marijuana law, so it does seem strange that he didn’t mention let alone herald that particular accomplishment. Perhaps he was using medical marijuana. Oh yes, that’s right, he has never done such a thing…. or has he?    Perhaps Essmann was home proposing legislation for the biggest tax increases in Montanans’ lifetimes.  Oh, never mind.  He already did that! Maybe he was providing statements to police, hoping to ensure a newly unemployed cannabis caregiver would be charged with a violation of the dreaded “privacy in communications act”.  Yeah, he already did that too.  Perhaps Essmann was out looking for Rep. James Knox, word on the street is that he’d like him to be his lieutenant governor.  Unfortunately for Essmann, Knox is apparently planning to leave the state, presumably taking his $733/mo in health benefits, compliments of Montana taxpayers, with him.

Anyway, back to the Americans for Prosperity event.  I wasn’t in attendance, but reports of McGillvray and Kerns being loudly booed were consistent.  One Republican politician- who actually lobbied Essmann and company to abandon plans for repeal in favor of thoughtful legislation during the session- left early because he was uncomfortable with the number of union thugs shouting down the speakers.  He said that he was not there to support the speakers but to support the local effort to elect new leaders who understand the need to live within our means and recognize that over-regulating is not the conservative way. Josh Daniels, an outspoken advocate for patients’ rights as well as a member of Patients for Reform, Not Repeal , said  “Overall it was a sad showing for them.  As a libertarian I do agree with the general concept, but the MT Tea Party is working for a nanny state with the LDS church on cannabis regulation.”  Mr. Daniels held a sign that read “SB423, Welcome Back Blackmarket”.

The Bozeman and Helena stops on the bus tour Thursday afternoon were also attended by a sizable group of protesters.  Friday’s stops include Kalispell, as well as the liberal university city of Missoula.  Similar events in Florida last week drew smaller than expected crowds. Perhaps Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group funded by the libertarian Koch brothers, should do a little research on their prospective speakers. I’m pretty sure that a speech by Republican Representative Mike Miller wouldn’t have drawn such opposition.

Most of those in attendance cited the need for jobs in Montana.  Note:  McGillvray, Kerns and Essmann all voted to eliminate the thousands of jobs in Montana’s medical cannabis industry.  Times certainly have changed since the last conservative bus tour stop in Billings. When then-GOP chairman Michael Steele brought the “Fire Pelosi” bus tour to Billings prior to the 2010 elections, hundreds of smiling and cheering supporters attended the event and I don’t recall seeing even one protester.  If only we had known then what sort of fools we were electing to represent us.

No Civility in this Disobedience


It doesn’t get much better than this…. although the entire video is umm, interesting; skip to the 21:00 mark to watch activists from Earth First! and Rising Tide North America’s display of disrespect. They literally DANCED on the governor’s reception room table.  Protesters also chanted slogans and scaled flagpoles as they made it clear they take their Big Oil hatred very seriously.

The civil disobedience team was called to defuse the situation.  Though the team, which includes a dozen Lewis and Clark County sheriffs deputies and Helena police has existed since 2007, their services were never utilized prior to this event.  Five arrests occurred after a group chain locked themselves together outside the governor’s office.

This juvenile display seemed far more media and attention-driven than rooted in a sincere desire to evoke change. The protesters wasted an opportunity with their desired audience, Montana’s media and Governor Schweitzer; to present their message effectively and no doubt lost any credibility they may have previously had.

I apologize for the lazy post, this spectacle deserves more commentary, but I’m stretched rather thin this week, so it will have to suffice.

Legislature Opening Day: Brad Molnar’s Pet Monster, Helena Rife with RINOs


Did Molnar recruit a David Souter in newly-elected Travis Kavulla?

When Montana Public Services Commissioner Brad Molnar recruited the Harvard-educated  former associate editor of National Review Travis Kavulla to run against former state Sen. Don Ryan for the District 1 PSC position,  he likely had no idea what he was getting himself into.  Rumors have circulated since the November elections that 26-year-old Kavulla has been making deals with liberals and several weeks ago, he stated that he may not support Molnar, the senior Republican on the 5 member panel for the position of chair, citing Molnar’s involvement in an ongoing (and petty) ethics case. According to reporters John Adams of The Great Falls Tribune (story here) and Lee Newspapers’ Mike Dennison (story here),  Kavulla’s threat was apparently serious as he abstained from voting after Republican Bill Gallagher nominated Molnar for chair. As a result, the commission deadlocked at 2-2 with Democrats John Vincent of Gallatin Gateway and  Gail Gutsche of Missoula voting against Molnar.  Numerous further attempts to select a chair were unsuccessful.

 

Is newly- elected Travis Kavulla a RINO?

Kavulla said he’d support Molnar only if he agreed to sign the Chairman’s Code of Conduct that Kavulla had conveniently prepared for him (which can be found here).  A heated confrontation ensued,which can be viewed here .   The video of the clash between the PSC veteran and the inexperienced freshman commissioner indicates that Kavulla was undoubtedly aware the exchange was being recorded while Molnar was either oblivious or tolerant of the capture.   Needless to say, Molnar refused to sign the document.  In response, he later presented reporters with this “Kavulla Karta“.

 

Voices of Montana‘s Aaron Flint interviewed Molnar after the incident.  The first part of which can be heard here, while the full interview can be heard on this morning’s Voices of Montana.  The PSC will try once again to elect a chair today.   While Brad Molnar is no stranger to controversy, I’m going to take his side on this one.  Kavulla’s “Chairman’s Code of Conduct” strikes me as rather patronizing and incredibly juvenile.  He may be more at home on an episode of Punk’d than in Montana’s PSC.

Meanwhile, the Montana legislature appears to be far friendlier; in fact, some are worrying that the two parties are getting along too well.  Judging from the Facebook walls of prominent political insiders, from Tea party leaders and former legislators to bloggers and legislative staffers, conservatives are clearly worried that the moderate Republican leadership in both houses will ignore the wishes of voters by compromising with Schweitzer and liberals in the legislature.

Did voters in November not make it clear that they were uninterested in negotiating with thieves?  What good is a majority when moderates repeatedly reach across the aisle? “Bipartisan” always seems to be code for surrendering your principles.  Don’t we remember what happens when we make deals with Democrats?  It seems that many Republicans are lacking the memory capabilities of their party mascot.

If the legislature’s opening day is any indication of the sort of session we can expect, we are in for one heck of a ride.

 

Yes, Your Vote DOES Count


In the final recount, Kendall Van Dyk has defeated Roy Brown by a margin of only four votes in Montana SD25.  My condolences to the state of Montana, in particular to members of the state senate.

Congratulations to the Montana Democrat  Party aka Veg Pac (Values, Energy & Growth PAC).  Apparently sleaze is an effective campaign tactic, one that was rewarded with a landslide victory of 4 votes.

 

I hope Kendall doesn’t find his new senate colleagues to be too  ‘intellectually small‘ for him.

Disgruntled District 36 Democrats Declare Dastardly Deeds Responsible for Julie French’s Defeat


 

A NE Montana couple is upset that Julie French was defeated in Montana HD 36

Although the Northeastern Montana laugh of the week was provided by the traveling gentleman who thanked the area hospital for their kind and compassionate assistance with his horrible binding case of constipation, Teresa and Robert Jensen (Reserve, MT) provided some competition. Their sugary-sweet love letter to recently defeated Montana state representative Julie French appeared in the Sheridan County News (Plentywood, MT) on November 11, 2010:

 

Thank you Rep Julie French for the dedicated and loyal service you have given the district the past four years in the State Legislature.  During your years in Helena, you proved yourself to be a tireless dependable worker on behalf of your district.

Your legislative accomplishments are solid and you showed time and again that it was your constituents who counted, not the special interests.

I’m very proud of the clean campaign you ran. You talked about the issues that are relevant to our part of the state and you didn’t make any easy promises that will be impossible to keep.  There were no false statements or slanted views. Your campaign was yours and yours alone. Your years of experience and knowledge will be a loss to the legislature, especially in dealing with BNSF.

I want to thank the voters of Sheridan County who rejected the well-funded campaign of fear and smear and voted for Julie.  They deserve credit for standing up to the outsiders who made this one of the most disgusting election campaigns in my memory.

But I am disappointed that neither the Knudsen campaign nor the responsible republican leadership in Sheridan County did not publicly and visibly repudiate those tactics.  It will be a blot on their reputation for a long time.

We need to get away from the kind of negativity that characterized this campaign.  People need to work together to resolve the issues and challenges that face the state and the district.  All our eyes now will be on your successor and we will be watching to see if he lives up to all of his promises.

Julie, while you may not be going back to Helena for the next term, I know your commitment to the people of House District 36 and to the common good of our communities will continue to find ways to express itself.

Again, thank you, Julie, for all your hard work on our behalf.

Sincerely,

Teresa and Robert Jensen

 

Mainstream Montanans will certainly miss Julie’s voting record.  In her time in office, she was able to make many new friends including  unions, radical environmentalists, and many other oppressed minorities.  She should be proud of her ‘D’ scores from Montana Shooting Sports Association, her anti-business scores of 21% and 32% from the Montana Chamber of Commerce, her score of 14% from the Montana Family Foundation, her 100% scores from radical environmentalist groups and her score of 85% from NARAL.

Businesses won’t miss her votes nor will those who work in the oil and gas industry, unborn babies, hunters and gun enthusiasts, stockgrowers, or those with family values.  Apparently Teresa and Robert Jensen don’t believe those issues are relevant to their part of the state.  District 36 is located in the northeastern corner of Montana where residents enjoy hunting and work primarily in the agriculture or oil industries.

According to her voting record, Julie French doesn’t feel Montana should require drivers license and professional examinations to be in English.  She also was opposed to creating a searchable website database for taxpayers to learn about the state budget.  Julie had no interest in defining a person either.  Julie wasn’t all bad for Montana though, after all, there were 7 legislators who voted to spend more than she did (out of 100).

So best wishes to Austin Knudsen who apparently, with his vicious campaign well-funded by special interests, stole the election with his dirty tactics.  That is what democrats say about all campaigns after they are beaten fair and square.  It appears that District 36 voters moved decidedly right like the rest of the state.  Teresa and Robert Jensen will have to enlist the help of the purple-shirted thugs next time.

 

Montana Democrat Party Hires Purple-Shirted Thug as New Executive Director


Get ready for the purple shirts, Montana!

The Montana Democrat Party was apparently unimpressed with election results as they released their executive director last week.  SEIU political director, Ted Dick of Helena was hired to replace him.

What can Montana expect from Mr. Dick?  It is likely that the dirty mud-slinging campaign tactics he is known for will intensify.  Earlier this year, Ted Dick and the SEIU donated  at least $10,000 to Main Street Advocacy, a progressive “Republican”  group supporting moderate Republicans in contested primary races with Tea Party backed candidates.  Main Street Advocacy eventually returned the money, but Dick’s connection to the group appears to be significant.

Montana Republicans may want to investigate Senator John Brueggeman’s connections to such a group as well.

The Montana Democratic Party has its work cut out.  The people of Montana have spoken and they said, loud and clear: “We prefer a conservative direction in our state”.  So, Mr. Dick, I can’t wait to see how the SEIU’s signature  dirty political practices will affect campaigning in Montana. Will the Democrats have purple buses and rent-a-mobs at their disposal whenever necessary?  Will we see purple-shirted operatives counting ballots perhaps?  After the dirty campaigning by Kendall Van Dyk in SD25, one almost wonders how it could get much nastier.

Something tells me Montana’s political practices commission will be rather busy.

Montana SD25 Race: Dirty Democrat Guide to Stealing Elections


 

Kendall Van Dyk's Campaign Tactics?

Although the margin of victory exceeds the margin that triggers a mandatory recount, Roy Brown is still considering whether or not to call for one anyway.  Sixteen votes separate the candidates currently.

 

If Kendall Van Dyk wins this race, we are sending a clear message- dirty attack ads prove victorious.  Never have I witnessed such a nasty race- Van Dyk’s mailers were nothing short of SLIMY, rife with distortions, false accusations, and blatant lies.  In stark contrast, Roy Brown retained his dignity and campaigned like a gentleman.

The following are lessons we can learn from this election:

  1. A good tactic is one that your people enjoy so pay people like you to do your work- over and over.  Van Dyk’s campaign paid at least 17 people WAGES.  Roy Brown?  One.  Don’t bother knocking on doors yourself, use your employees.  While Roy was seen several times at each door in SD25, most residents didn’t see Van Dyk once.
  2. Never waste a perfectly good crisis. Keep the pressure on with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose   No matter how vague of a connection, make outrageous statements connecting your opponent to emotional issues.  If he worked for an oil company three decades ago, connect him to the BP oil spill.
  3. Never go outside the experience of your people so utilize national figures and the state and national party to provide assistance.  Have DC fundraisers for a state election in Montana. Use shadowy PACs. The Values Energy & Growth PAC is funded solely by the Democratic Legislators Alumni PAC which is solely funded by….. the Montana Democratic Party.  Your constituents won’t know how to follow the money though, you’ll be alright.
  4. Whenever possible, go outside of the experience of the enemy. If your opponent has maintained dignified campaigns in the past, step it up a notch. Always take the low road.  It is difficult to flaunt your strengths when you don’t have any.  In these cases, compensate by attacking your opponent.  Name calling is a bonus.
  5. Ridicule is man’s most powerful weapon. Whine about how your opponent has gone too far.  For instance, accuse him of “trying to tie you to Obama”.  Never mention the several photos of you attending various events with Obama at your side- after all, that doesn’t tie you to him.
  6. Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules- I consider this projection:  Exploit your own weaknesses by presenting them as your opponent’s. If you were raised out of your district,  present your opponent as an outsider. Don’t mention he moved here as a toddler or that you lived most of your life on the opposite side of the state.  If you were the local NORML chapter president, instead paint your opponent as “weak on medical marijuana laws”.
  7. If you do have ANY accomplishments, make sure your opponent appears to contrast you.  For instance, if you authored a stream access bill (even though the your bill looked nothing like the final one), present yourself as a savior to sportsmen.  Publicize photos of you hunting, fishing, being a MAN.  Ignore the fact that your opponent was the one endorsed by all of the sportsmen and firearm rights interest groups.  That is irrelevant.  Most people are too stupid or apathetic to research these fine details, so don’t worry about it.
  8. It isn’t about what you have, it is about what they THINK you have. Use subliminal advertising.  If you don’t have a wife and children- or even a girlfriend, take campaign photos with your sister and her children.  Voters will simply assume you have a cute little family. Don’t mention that your entire family is republican either.
  9. If you push a negative hard and deep enough, it will break through into its counterside so NEVER actually address accusations lodged at you by your opponent.  When he calls you “Tax Hike Van Dyk”, address his name-calling, not the name itself.  Don’t mention that you LOVE taxes and big government and that you cannot wait to make your nickname a reality.
  10. Shake things up a bit.  Use different tactics so it never becomes a drag.  Attack from every angle.  If you can get your opponent’s supporters angry with him, this is a bonus.  If stock growers support your opponent, accuse him of being a vegetarian even if he eats meat regularly.
  11. The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.    The ends always justifies the means so don’t worry about ethics.  You will win in the end.  Good luck!

Kendall Van Dyk. Sam Kitzenberg. Arlen Specter.


Before Kendall Van Dyk met the Northern Plains Resource Council……… he was a Republican.  “I was born into a Republican family and I spent more of the  years of my life as a Republican than I have now a Democrat. ”  Political opportunism at its finest.  I bet his parents are thankful they don’t live in his district.  It is one thing to become an independent but quite another to go so far across the spectrum to change parties- can a moral compass just disappear? This reminds me of the time Brian Schweitzer told me he was really a republican.  The governor doesn’t care much about parties, I believe that.  Brian Schweitzer is not a team player unless it benefits Brian Schweitzer.  Regardless of Van Dyk’s claims, he is known in the legislature as being a hot-tempered whiner who plays for his own team.  Whether or not you agree with Roy Brown’s politics, he is known by both parties as a consistent, even-tempered statesman.

Immediately After Reelection, Governor Schweitzer Broke Land Access Pledge


“As the governor, I’m not going to allow out-of-state interests to buy up lands and restrict access to public lands and streams.”- Brian Schweitzer, Governor of Montana

Another Broken Campaign Promise, Schweitzer Will Say Anything to Get Elected

What Governor Schweitzer forgot to mention was that he personally planned to buy up lands and restrict access to lands and streams as opposed to allowing out of state interests to do so.  Schweitzer owns 670 acres of land up Mullan Pass- land that in the past was available for hunting and fishing.  Shortly after being reelected in 2008, Schweitzer, citing vandalism,  placed chains, locks and signs prohibiting access to the land.  At least 4 signs grace the property- each reads “No trespassing. Jim Brenden no longer owns this ranch. Please respect my privacy. No hunting, fishing, snowmobiling or 4 wheeling. Do not enter.” Schweitzer said that if asked permission, he will most likely allow hunting, hiking, and snowmobiling although he fails to post a phone number or to otherwise direct parties who are interested in obtaining permission.

The federal stimulus provided $330,000 to upgrade the US Forest Service road providing access to the land. Schweitzer isn’t pleased that the road was improved- he preferred the remote nature of his property. It is good news for those angry with the governor’s signs, gates, and fences, however.  Hoodlums wishing to retaliate can more easily poach his elk and throw their litter onto his land-  of course neither behavior is advised.  My suggestion is to call the Capitol to ask Schweitzer himself.

Want to hunt, snowmobile or picnic? Give ole Bri a call…
Governor Brian D. Schweitzer
Office of the Governor
Montana State Capitol Bldg.
P.O. Box 200801
Helena MT 59620-0801
(406) 444-3111, FAX (406) 444-5529

Perhaps if he doesn’t answer, you could contact his pal Montana Representative Kendall Van Dyk, Montana’s own environmental super hero who single-handedly clarified stream access laws across Montana.

.

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.

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.

National Democrats Focusing on Two Key Montana Legislative Races


According to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, Montana is home to 2 out of 20 key legislative races in the nation.  The DLCC announced its “Essential Races” Program in late September along with a list containing the first of the races they felt were most important throughout the nation.   Out of the more than 6000 races nationwide this November 2nd, Democrats will have eventually have chosen a total of 50 critical races that they plan to augment by grassroots initiative.

 

Most important to the national dems.....fortunate?

Democrats Augmenting Races With Grassroots Initiative

 

HD 100 (Willis Curdy (D) and Champ Edmunds (R)- while widely endorsed by the ultra-liberals in Missoula County, Curdy hasn’t made his stances clear.  He refused to respond to the non-partisan Project Vote Smart Political Courage Test and his website lists only vague information in broad categories.  For instance, he believes we need high-paying jobs, good education, and protection from property tax increases.   The National Rifle Association Victory Fund graded Mr. Curdy a “C-“.

Republican Champ Edmunds, if elected, plans to enact “a moratorium on frivolous lawsuits put forth by radical environmental groups that stop progress and kill jobs”.  His website lists specific plans to combat the challenges our state faces today.  He scored a 100% on Project Vote Smart’s Political Courage Test- his views on issues can be found here.

As for the other race targeted, Montana Senate District 25 (Roy Brown v Kendall Van Dyk) we’ve covered it thoroughly in prior posts here and here.  We simply wanted to explain why it was so important to us…. the democrats believe it is a critical race and we agree with them.

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.