The Butte Debate: Did Burns Break the Law Again?

There’s been a lot of talk in the Montana blogs about the nature of the corporate sponsorship of the Butte debate last night. Touchstone led off the discussion, and Shane followed up with some great details about the connection between Burns and the Resodyn corporation. Apparently, in exchange for their ‘sponsorship’ of the debate, this corporation was given the ol’ first class treatment, being able to hold seats at the front of this public event, seats that were subsequently filled by Burns supporters. Just how bad was it? Jen reports that Larry Farrar himself, the corporate sponsor of the event, forced two elderly women from their seats if they refused to wear Burns stickers.

This is another violation of the law. Resodyn gave something of value (prime seats, in the center of the audience) to the Burns campaign–and that is a corporate donation, prohibited, as Chuck Denowh reminded us, by the law.

Conrad Burns acting unethically is hardly news these days, but the actions of the Standard require some serious scrutiny. Given the Standard’s frequent coverage of Burns-Resodyn connections and the ready availability of information about donations to Burns linked to Resodyn, how could it be an appropriate choice to have Resodyn sponsor the debate? Was the MT-GOP unavailable? I’ve written Gerry O’Brien ( and Janet Taylor (, from the Standard, as well as the generic Lee information e-mail ( with some questions, like:

  • What was the nature of the sponsorship agreement between the Standard and Resodyn?
  • Was anyone else able to purchase/reserve seats?
  • Was there a previous sponsor before Resodyn, and what motivated you to change, if so?

I think the more people who ask these types of questions, the better.

A little more information below the fold–about the web of connections between Burns and Resodyn.

A search for Resodyn on Conrad Burns campaign site reveals 14 hits, including:

And what does Resodyn say about Conrad?

No quid pro quo, right?

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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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