As we have reported in the past few weeks, Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton has made a series of intriguing expenditures during his time in office, including services at a Helena car wash, an $800 charge at a tire store, an Amazon Prime account, bottles of wine and even video rentals. All of them were charged to state-issued credit cards, meaning that those expenditures came from resources intended for the service of the people of Montana, not the people who work for us in state government.
When, as a citizen of Montana I asked for documentation about these expenditures, I was told the Secretary of State wanted $267.16 to find some receipts. Today, I received this response from Christi Jacobsen, Stapleton’s chief of staff:
Thank you for your interest in the Secretary of State’s Office. Per 2-6-1003, MCA and 44.2.204 Administrative Rule, the cost to gather all of the requested documentation is $267.16. If you would like copies, the cost is $.50/page.
Please let me know if you would like us to proceed.
They must have a very expensive copy machine in Stapleton’s office to go along with all the new office furniture and computers they’ve ordered for the senior and political staff in the past few weeks and I have some serious concerns about state officials hiding behind ridiculous charges to hide their expenditures, but I want to call their bluff and pay the fee.
And that’s where you come in. In the twelve years we’ve run this site, we’ve never run ads to pay for our server costs, never asked for donations for our work, nor ever considered any kind of fundraiser. If you’ve ever appreciated our work or just really want to know why Secretary Stapleton spent $748 on tires within two weeks of taking office, would you consider throwing us $5 to cover the costs?
I’ll certainly make up the difference, but if you don’t think state officials should be able to hide behind charging constituents for basic information, how about throwing the cost of a good Montana beer our way? Since you’ve been paying for Mr. Stapleton and his staff to have coffee and lunch for the past nine months, why not spend just a bit more?
I’d appreciate any help you could throw my way. The GoFundMe account is available here.