Representative Rehberg’s Town Hall Stunt

Mike Dennison is reporting that Representative Rehberg’s town hall stunt last nightrehberg_thumb reached 5,500 Montanans and I’m reporting that it reached new lows in Congressional hypocrisy and dishonesty.

The self-professed advocate of fiscal restraint and transparency used your tax dollars to:

  • lie about Tester’s bill being unavailable;
  • hawk his politically charged and partisan e-newsletter at least four times;
  • lie about “massive changes” in the bill’;
  • trash the media for honestly reporting both sides of the issue
  • engage in juvenile name calling and indulge 1860s style thinking about nullification of federal laws.

Despite being billed as an opportunity for ordinary Montanans to express their views about the bill, the event was absolutely managed by Rehberg and his staffers, who screened calls to ensure the event degenerated into partisan and personal attacks on Senator Tester. Three Republican legislators, including spear-hunting Greg Hinkle, managed to get through.

I was also able to get through to ask a question, despite entering the teleconference almost 15 minutes late and entering my question long after other people submitted theirs. I suspect that the irony-deficient Rehberg staffer who put me through didn’t understand why I was so excited to “talk about all the great proposals Representative Rehberg has advocated.”

His “answer” revealed what everyone knows. Despite repeatedly saying that he wants to protect Montana jobs and wilderness as the bill does, despite having been part of a Republican majority, Rehberg has never written a bill nor advanced one to a committee for debate. Far too busy self-promoting and naming post offices, Representative Rehberg is turning his back on Montanans once again:

“Congressman Rehberg says he listens, but he wasn’t listening when we asked him to support Montana’s wood-products industry,” said Mark Hathway, a millworker at Sun Mountain Lumber in Deer Lodge and a self-described lifelong Republican. “If he’s still calling this a ‘wilderness’ bill, he clearly hasn’t read it.”

Finally, curious how much a 5,500 person teleconference cost taxpayers, I called Representative Rehberg’s office today, but have not received a response.

And that’s Representative Rehberg: a blowhard, faux fiscal conservative willing to spend taxpayer money on a campaign event but not willing to do the work necessary to protect our environment and jobs.

Update: You’ve got to love this guy. Rehberg issued a release today showing just how well he listens to Montanans. After screening the calls to get a pre-determined outcome, he said this:

“The Montanans I heard from are just as opposed to the legislation itself as they are to the underhanded tactics being used to force it through Congress,” said Rehberg.  “The pro-con breakdown of this call mirrors the 22 public meetings I held earlier this year.  It’s clear that when you actually listen to what Montanans think about this bill, you get a much different result then when you only listen to the pre-packaged talking points manufactured by collaborators.”

Just how stupid does he think we are?

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.

Subscribe to our posts

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.


Click here to post a comment

Please enter an e-mail address

Send this to a friend