The Constituency Fund Non-Story Becomes a Story

While today we learn that Pat Davison, a chief financial advisor for the Burns campaign is in an undisclosed location(?!?!), a non-story about a constituency fund make the Gazette and IR today, in a piece by Charles Johnson.

On the bright side, the story clears up any doubt about Tester’s use of the fund, which is consistent with Montana law, and makes it apparent that Erik Iverson, Burns’ new spokesflack, is an idiot. What confuses me about the story is that Johnson makes it seem like Erik Iverson was interviewing the Tester campaign:

Iverson questioned several expenditures such as $528 to Northwest Airlines, but McKenna said it was to pay for Tester to attend a National Conference of State Legislatures meeting. Iverson questioned the expenditure of $200 to Wayne Turner, but McKenna said Turner is a former Big Sandy firefighter who flew Tester in his private plane. Turner was later killed fighting fires in Utah.

Iverson asked if the constituency account was still open because Tester could run into Federal Election Commission problems if it were still open, but McKenna said it was closed in 2005 before Tester entered the Senate race.

It’s a complete non-story; in fact, it paints a pretty flattering picture of Tester. He actually used his constituency funds to meet with constituents, as opposed to the pattern of the GOP in this state, who use real slush funds, raised on government time. As Iverson says:

“The very existence of these funds is the worst kind of politics,” Burns spokesman Erik Iverson said. “They should either be banned or regulated or subject to disclosure because they’re ripe for abuse.”

No one would know that more than a member of the Burns-Rehberg Martz trifecta of graft.

Update: Burns’ supporters demonstrate their keen political insight in the Gazette comments.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a 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.


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