In a frankly astonishing campaign finance report that reveals an incredible burn rate, Republican gubernatorial candidate has spent another $22,500 on online campaign services. The good news is that he has moved his business from Texas, Virginia, and Salt Lake City. The bad news? He’s still not relying on the Montana firms he claims he will support as governor.
Instead, Mr. Gianforte paid that $22,500 to the Prosper Group, based in Greenwood, Indiana, for a combination of web site development and online advertising.
The Prosper Group, as James Conner noted back in January, “brags about its relationship with Wisconsin’s union busting governor, Scott Walker, and Americans for Prosperity.” Given Mr. Gianforte’s unwillingness to express an honest, direct position on Right to Work laws, it makes sense that he’d have his online presence constructed by the firm associated with Republican candidates and front groups that oppose the right to collectively bargain.
Two campaign finance reports in, and Mr. Gianforte has spent over $70,000 on out-of-state firms doing the kind of work that Montana developers could easily have accomplished, had they the stomach to work for his campaign. While that $70,000 certainly would have offered a practical benefit to the firms he could have hired here, the more important damage is symbolic. Despite arguing that he will bring high-tech jobs to Montana, Gianforte is sending the message that he doesn’t believe in their talents and skill. He’s sending the message that Montana businesses just can’t compete.
And that’s the kind of messaging that even the $5,818 Mr. Gianforte is paying a company called Salient Point from Boston, Massachusetts to write his Montana political message for him won’t be enough to explain away.