Montana Politics

Is the Bucy Campaign inflating its fundraising numbers?

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Take a look and you’ll notice something missing from candidate for Attorney General Pam Bucy’s finance reports: payments to a company called Strategies 360.  According to its website, Strategies 360 is a company that offers “strategic positioning, market entry, and crisis management services” to its clients.

Since announcing in July of last year, Bucy has yet to pay Strategies 360 a dime.  Why is this deserving of attention?  It’s deserving of attention because of the relationship the two parties share and how said relationship isn’t being reported.

Let’s examine the weeds before we get to the meat of the issue, which is that Pam Bucy may be underreporting her expenses in order to inflate her “cash on hand.”

First, Strategies 360’s office – located at 2 N. Last Chance Gulch in Helena, MT – also serves as Pam Bucy’s campaign headquarters.  Nowhere in Bucy’s financial reports does it list her campaign as leasing or renting office space from Strategies 360, so one has to assume Strategies 360 is working for the campaign.

Perhaps more telling is that fact that if you want to get in contact with Pam Bucy’s campaign you need to call 406.449.7303, which just happens to be Strategies 360’s office phone number.

Furthermore, Strategies 360’s Director of Public Affairs is listed as Pam Bucy’s campaign manager.  The campaign is also staffed by other employees of Strategies 360, including Strategies 360’s newest staffer, Tim Warner who recently left his position as an “executive team member at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana.”

Put this all together and it’s clear Pam Bucy is receiving significant campaign services from Strategies 360, not just the printing services Bucy receives from Q Communications (a printing and design company owned by Strategies 360).  In fact, it’s fairly clear that Strategies 360 isn’t just providing the Bucy campaign with services – Strategies 360 is single-handedly running Bucy’s campaign.

Why does this matter?  It matters because it looks like Strategies 360 is either allowing the Bucy campaign to defer payment for the services it is providing in order to make it look like Bucy’s campaign has more cash on hand that it actually does or Strategies 360 simply isn’t charging Pam Bucy.

Either scenario is problematic.

If Strategies 360 is deferring its bill in order to inflate Bucy’s cash on hand numbers, it’s disingenuous and ethically precarious.  The amount Bucy owes to Strategies 360 should at least appear as a debt on Bucy’s reports under “Debts and Loans not yet paid.”

Currently, Bucy’s campaign only lists the $10,000 loan Bucy made to her campaign last year.

If Strategies 360 is, in fact, “donating” its services to the Bucy campaign than another ethical issue arises.  Nowhere on Bucy’s reports does she list any in-kind contributions from Strategies 360 or its staff.  Individuals, of course, are free to volunteer their time to any campaign, but when what is volunteered is “work hours” (which it clearly what has taken place), that time eventually becomes an in-kind contribution, cannot exceed $310 dollars (probably 5 hours of work for one of these staffers), and must be reported.

I find the first scenario far more likely.  It’s disappointing to see such silly games being played by a candidate for Attorney General, especially when that candidate has plenty of strengths and doesn’t need to play games.  A candidate for Attorney General should adhere to a higher standard – especially when it comes to election laws.

Hopefully the next few reports will clarify what’s going on in terms of the relationship Bucy’s campaign for has with Strategies 360.

About the author

M. Storin

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  • This is Annie Glover, Strategies 360 Director of Public Affairs and Pam Bucy's campaign manager. Since you know how to reach me, contacting me directly with these questions would be a very easy way to get at the truth behind this made-up controversy, but I can see how blogging might be a preferable method of communication. Q Communications is wholly a subsidiary of Strategies 360. Strategies 360 has a legal contract with Pam to run her campaign, and she is paying all up front costs to the firm. The contract outlines how much money the campaign will owe based on specific criteria, with that amount to be determined later on. Pam's treasurer is the Helena Chief of Police, and he has been very involved in overseeing our financial reporting. Doug Mitchell, still formally Of Counsel to our firm, handled every campaign he ran in a very similar way. It's not secretive or scandalous, and it is by no means unprecedented. I'm happy to point you in the direction of those finance reports, if you'd care to dig further. Thanks for staying engaged with the campaign, and I'm looking forward to seeing you around town. I'm happy to buy you a beer or coffee sometime if you'd like to meet and ask any other questions.

    • "The contract outlines how much money the campaign will owe based on specific criteria, with that amount to be determined later on."

      Now is a good time to disclose those criteria and to provide the best estimate of the final bill based on what has happened thus far.

  • I don’t get the controversy. This is how campaigns that are managed by contract rather than hired employees are set up. The contracts help ensure the candidate gets what he or she is paying for. I would be more interested in hearing how the candidates stand on the issues then whether their internal contract structure is understood by the opponent or not. Amateur hour.

  • Anne,while I get the well worded responce and the implied wrist slap, I don't see you actually answering any of the questions raised in the post beyond what the relationship is between Strategies 360 and the campaign. The author of the article has raised some very serious concerns – concerns which are still unanswered – and your responce is to disregard those concerns – or worse – suggest that the author (and presumably the readers) pull the financial records from you rather than the publicaly reported records in question. What you fail to realise is that the difference between your records and the ones publicaly reported is – in and of itself – a reason for concern.

    I hope that you see the clear disconnect here and can post factual information as many people will read this article (and your responce) and go.. "huh? I don't get it".

    Given the rather rancorous discord between the Bucy campaign and the Laslovich campaign (a rancor I have yet to figure out…), it does not do Pam Bucy any favors to be less than direct and upfront about this issue.

  • Again contacting, rather than hiring staff, ensures that a person doesn’t pay for services that were not completed or not completed to the payors satisfaction. When I put new flooring in my bathroom I didn’t pay upfront and then just hope the contractor did the job right and on time. I signed the contract up front and paid when he job was completed to my satisfaction. By doing so, I ensured I wasnt paying for crap work. This is what Bucy appears to be doing, it’s what most campaigns do that use contractors.

  • Does Strategies 360 include service from the Cowgirl Blog? Sure seems that way. I don't think its a big deal if 360 is not billing Pam until after the race, but it should still be listed in unpaid debts. Interesting that Annie G chose to be so defensive instead of simply stating that their contract does not require payment until services are complete. But this kind of deception has been the biggest problem with the Bucy campaign. The are running against Jesse instead of for Pam. To bad I really like Pam.

  • This is a joke. All contracts operate like this. You sign a contract for services and you pay when the services are met.

  • Yeah but you probably had a rough idea what the contractor was going to charge you and if you had to report that rough estimate on a disclosure you could, as opposed to pretending you don’t know to purposefully deflate your debt.

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