Montana Politics

GOP Hypocrisy: Taylor and Knox


Another day, another dose of hypocrisy from the Montana GOP. Yesterday, the Policy Institute released their “Profiles in Hypocrisy,” detailing how Montana legislators who spout anti-government, anti-spending rhetoric love taking federal farm subsidies. Of course, 30 of the 33 were Republicans.

The worst offender? Janna Taylor, of course, who offered this intriguing defense to the Great Falls Tribune’s John Adams:

“I can control state tax dollars, but I can’t control federal tax dollars,” Taylor said. “You’d have to talk to (Democratic Sen. Jon) Tester and (Democratic Sen. Max) Baucus about federal tax policy.”

I know you can’t control your mouth, Representative Taylor, but I’m pretty sure you can control your hands. I suspect that Feds wouldn’t send in black helicopter with commandos to force you to cash the check. As often as Republicans talk about the need for belt tightening and sacrifice in difficult economic times, perhaps a good start would be for Rep. Taylor to return a million dollars to the federal government.

Our second contestant in the Hypocrisy Sweepstakes is Representative James Knox, who is certainly a man of principle. Knox is so opposed to medical marijuana that he went on Facebook to trumpet the federal arrests raids yesterday and has often condemned users of the drug.

These strong scruples from a man who describes himself as “a man of principal and not one who votes with fear of upsetting someone” do not seem to extend to his business practices, as the Montafesto blog notes today. It seems that Representative Knox not only offered to build a web site for Montana Medical Cannabis, but he offered them a cut rate deal:

Representative James Knox, who has been CRYING as of late about medical marijuana (his brother is an “addict”) provided a quote to design a website for the same business, Montana Medical Cannabis.  He even offered to virtually “give away” his services because he was slow.  Morals in this case appear to be very dynamic, changing based on the potential for profit.

A man of principle indeed, no matter how he spells it.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


  • I’ve had some concerns about Mr. Knox’s business practices. It seems that people who cheat their employees also cheat the state out of taxes. So, did Mr. Knox pay the required employment taxes on his out-of-state employee? His employee said Knox withheld his wages and Knox says it was justified because the employee stole inventory. That would not normally be legal but Mr. Knox says it was allowed by his contract with the employee. As a taxpayer, however, I want to know if he paid the required unemployment insurance, worker’s comp, and fica, medicare, federal and state withholding on those wages. Because even if it is legal to take someone’s pay as restitution for stolen inventory, it’s still not legal not to pay the required employment taxes. This would explain why Knox is so gung-ho on starving the Department of Revenue the money they need for enforcement….

  • Mass media is now just serving it’s corporate masters. There is no longer independant journalism. Their gold cow has been big pharma,
    and what big pharma wants, big pharma gets.

  • This past April Taylor stood out with the tax day protesters– it was a campaign year, after all.

    “The worst thing about it is the situation we are putting our children into,” representative Janna Taylor from House District 11 said. “My generation isn’t going to have to pay, it’s our children and grandchildren that are going to have to pay.”

    Responding to a letter to the editor, Rep. Taylor said: “If you go to that website you’ll see that Twin Creek Ranch received money for disaster subsidies. It doesn’t mention that the disaster insurance paid by the ranch was far more than money received. Over the last 14 years half of the money the ranch received was from CRP, the conservation reserve program. Farm and ranch business is often difficult for city dwellers to understand.”

    Another writer responded: “Janna Taylor, recipient of more than a million dollars in federal subsidies for her corporate ranch business in Winnet, explained in a letter to the editor that “city dwellers” have a hard time understanding how these things work. So let’s see: it’s okay for big government welfare programs to subsidize your disaster insurance, but not okay to fund health insurance for poor children. Got it, loud and clear.”

  • Rep Knox has suggested that we post a retraction due to the fact that the original email where he offers to “virtually give away” his services in designing a website for a medical marijuana provider contains a confidentiality disclaimer. As a result, the offending email has been removed. At this point, there is no need for undeniable proof of blatant hypocrisy anyway.

    These people are running our state? I feel like I’m on special episode of PUNK’D.

  • My in-laws have been farming in Daniels County since 1904-never taken a dime of farm subsidy money. Pop was a WWII Veteran-never touched his GI benefits, same with my in-law unk..lost the use of one arm yet never collected a dime disability or used VA healthcare. I was raised on farms/ranches in Montana and Nebraska but I lived in Denver for awhile. Guess that makes me a “city dweller” ‘cuz to me Taylor just seems to be a greedy hypocrite. 

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