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Don’t Fence Us Out, Greg

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Since the revelation in May that Greg Gianforte had sued to block public access to East Gallatin River, his campaign has fed the people of Montana a steady diet of disinformation. They’ve sent surrogates out to contend that no lawsuit was filed, despite reporting from 2009 and the actual filing proving otherwise. His campaign released a treacly ad about what a “good neighbor” Greg was for letting people use a public easement they didn’t need permission to use. As the Cowgirl blog pointed out back in its original reporting on the story, being caught trying to block public access was a huge problem for Gianforte, as it reinforces the narrative that he’s little more than a wealthy carpet bagger who tried to keep Montanans from accessing their public lands.

That explains the rash of denials and tortured explanations that filing a suit is somehow not filing a lawsuit. What those rationales can’t explain away, however, is a recently released e-mail which shows that Mr. Gianforte was not only actively excluding the public from access, but that he had fenced off the easement. From March 2008:

It was a terrible decision to block access in a state where public access to rivers and streams is long held tradition. It was an even worse decision to put up a fence and file a lawsuit to maintain that refusal. But worst of all, is that the Gianforte campaign, which has lied again and again and again during this campaign not only lied themselves about his actions, but sent out surrogates to lie for him.

The evidence is clear: Greg Gianforte blocked public access with a fence and other measures. Since then, he’s continued to be dishonest about what he did and why. Isn’t it time for Mr. Gianforte to come clean and admit it?

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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.

12 Comments

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  • Montanans have every right to have their boundaries properly and legally marked. Any private land owner would feel the same. Gianforte got his boundary corrected and in the final analysis, the public did not lose access to the river. The governor and Democrats are riding this access train for all they are worth because it’s a sound bite that resonates.

    • Yes, it does resonate. That’s because it’s the truth — not just about the history of the issue, but also about Gianforte’s attitude toward access and his seeking of privilege because of his wealth. If he wants to put the issue to rest, he should donate the land under easement to the state.

  • Jean, what the hell does this even mean???

    “Montanans have every right to have their boundaries properly and legally marked. Any private land owner would feel the same”

    Boundaries?? Marked??? Never hear someone from Montana talk like that? What “boundaries” are you talking about? Where you from back east? Jesus Land???

    Lived in Montana my whole life, and NEVER once heard anyone say that boundaries must be marked. I suspect you don’t own much land here, do ya?

  • So your source is Greg Gianforte and his campaign? Maybe, just maybe, there are better sources of information, like the e-mail from 2008, eight years before he ran for governor, that show he put up a fence blocking public access?

  • Free enterprise fanatics like Gianforte possess the warped view that public ownership of anything is nothing less than communism, so the disposal of federal lands has been written into the Republican party’s national platform. That’s something to consider before voting for any candidate with an “R” after his or her name.

    • Fred Thomass………………………………………………………………..BWHAHAHAHAA!

      Sorry, Bill. That was a gag post, right? Good. We need the levity now and then. Thanks.

      Oh, btw, ask ol’ Freddy how that dereg thingy worked out. And ask him about the time he came to GF and got his arse royally chewed out in public. (moi) I don’t think he’s been back since then. And buddy let me tell ya he deserved it!

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