Representative Rehberg certainly has a unique idea about what it means for an average Montanan to struggle financially. This Thursday, he told a crowd in Missoula that he is “land rich and cash poor” and that he is “struggling like everyone else.” When he opened his campaign for the Senate, he told voters that he is “no stranger to the hardships facing Montanans today.”
The Billings Gazette pointed out just how much Rehberg struggles to make ends meet in a 2010 story:
Rehberg’s largest holdings are: Rehberg Ranch LLC, ranching and development land in Billings, and Rehberg Ranch Land and Livestock LLC of Billings, agricultural land and ranching operations. He valued each of these two companies at between $5 million and $25 million.
While I’m certain it’s quite comforting to the nearly 15% of Montanans who live in poverty and the 7.4% of Montanans who are unemployed that Representative Rehberg feels their pain, most of them don’t have $10 million dollars in assets to rely on in difficult financial times. Most of them don’t have the option of not “drawing a salary for ten years,” as Representative Rehberg claims about his wife.
It seems Representative Rehberg, who believes so strongly in transparency, should immediately do a couple of things:
- He should release his tax forms for public review. Governor Schweitzer does it, President Obama does it, and dozens of Senate candidates in the last cycle did it. As a champion of transparency, one would expect our struggling subdivision rancher to do the same.
- He should sponsor legislation requiring real financial disclosure from House members. Does a form that allows someone to list his net worth as somewhere between $12.2-$57.6 million dollars really say anything?
It’s time for transparency, Representative Rehberg.