Representative Steve Daines

And Steve Daines Exploits Veterans for Politics

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It was a pretty outstanding day for Representative Steve Daines today. It was so bad that even the Billings Gazette is reporting something negative about him. It’s a sign you’ve probably done something wrong when the newspaper captions a photo “the Montana Marine Corps League has asked to congressman to clarify that he didn’t intend to exploit them.”

It seems that when Representative Daines used your tax dollars to promote his candidacy for the Senate using his Congressional franking ability, he managed to include photos of veterans who don’t want to be used as political props.

From the Billings Gazette:

League members told The Gazette they were surprised to see their photo included in a mailer outlining Daines’ work for military veterans. The league characterized the mailer as a political brochure. It wrote Daines’ staff this week asking the congressman to clarify that he didn’t intend to exploit Marine League members.

It gets worse. The Marine League contacted Daines’s office and asked him to explain his actions or make it clear that he wasn’t suggesting a partisan endorsement. His office didn’t respond:

As veterans, we are, however, appreciative of the support given to veteran issues by all elected officials, including Congressman Daines. So, in a cooperative spirit, Steve Tozzi, State Adjutant and Paymaster for the Marine Corps League, sent a letter inviting a response from Congressman Daines. The letter went to campaign staff in Helena as well as a Strategic Communications Director in the Washington D.C. office. “We have yet to receive a response.” reports Tozzi. The silence has exacerbated the issue, drawing attention from other veteran service organizations in the Butte area.

And worse. The Daines mailer captions one photo “”Rep. Steve Daines discusses veteran’s issues with Marine Corps veterans, but the veterans say differently:

The veterans say the discussion never happened.

That Daines would use taxpayer money for a political gain is no surprise. Choosing veterans, however, was probably a risky move, as his voting record when it comes to veterans is one he should never highlight, given that he voted:

  • against funding for traumatic brain injury research.
  • against suicide outreach for veterans.
  • against anti-hunger programs for veterans.
  • against reducing the VA backlog.

There’s no money for veterans, for Steve Daines, but there’s money in the budget for glossy mailers lying about his support for them. That’s not how a fifth or first generation Montanan should act.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-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.

3 Comments

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  • Daines seems to have a habit of ignoring people he would prefer not to talk to. That’s barely tolerable in business. It’s intolerable in an elected official.

    • Hi Dave. If YOU had thirty million smackeroos in the bank, would YOU talk to dirty working stiff riff raff like me? You see, the corporate newspapers in this state are remiss. Nay, they’re corporate A**HOLES! Why can’t we have a couple of debates between the Butte girl Amanda and Pee Wee daines? Let’s get all the cards on the table once and for all! Are we REALLY Jaysus jumpin’ white homeland, or are we still BUTTE America?! I’m thinkin’ that we’re still Butte America! Red, white, or blue. Let’s get this sucker figured out! Next time an inbred tells you that they’re votin’ for Daines ’cause he’s a gun guy, ASK him just what the hell he’s gonna DO with all them guns if there are no more public lands to HUNT on? Hell, the inbreds need to think this one through. Try a leetle experiment. Go down to Paonia, Co., and ASK the youngest Kockh to hunt on MY cousin’s Bear Ranch, which the dude bought, and see what his response is! Hell, if his security don’t kill you, the local sheriff probably will!

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