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Montana Politics

A Telling Story About Burns and Cheney

Remember when Conrad Burns flew in Dick Cheney to a private fundraiser in Whitefish? Well, it cost the city about $1,400 dollars in overtime, extra security, and ambulance costs. Despite the fact that Cheney and Burns were unavailable to the public in this private fundraiser, the people of Whitefish wereleft holding the bill.

A motion before the Whitefish City Council to bill the Burns campaign initially passed, but was reverse for an interesting reason–the city council became afraid that Burns might stop the gravy train out of spite:

City manager Gary Marks, who has been out of the country, said he wasn’t sure if he or mayor Andy Feury were designated to write the letter. But he also had some comments to make about the idea.
“I think there’s a big downside to doing this, but I will write it if you want,” he told the council.
Marks said all three congressional delegations help the city, providing Whitefish with “big bucks.”
“If this is a political point, then fine,” he said, “but there could be some subtle impacts later on that would be detrimental to our community. Our first duty should be what’s best for our community.”

That says a lot about Burns…and perhaps even more about the patronage state his approach to governance creates.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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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  • Ambulance costs? Don’t tell me he still has an ambulance following him everywhere?

    With the fat cash Burns has, and the $$ he’s saving putting his wife in coach, you’d think he’d cough up the $1,400 and be done with it.

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