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Montana Politics

Scott Sales: Republican Family Values

There are few political phrases I hate more than “family values,” especially when piously intoned by someone whose notions of what it means to be in a family or to have values bear little resemblance to what most of us mean by the terms.

That’s why it’s hard not to comment on Republican former Speaker of the Montana House Scott Sales, who, despite pretending to be an advocate for family values, recently exposed his wife to criminal charges and his mother-in-law to embarrassment in the media in order to protect his political career.

In the Sales home, family values seem to consist of forcing an elderly woman not only to live in your house against her will, but to also impoverish her, stealing at $20,000 from her accounts.

Rather than reimbursing his mother-in-law for the amount taken, Sales let his wife face criminal charges, apparently because his elderly mother-in-law lacked receipts documenting the theft:

Fife said he and Poole believe even more money was taken over the years, and that is why they originally asked for $45,000 from Sales. But Fife said they were only able to prove to a criminal standard that about $20,000 was taken, although he believes the large amount could be proven in a civil trial.
Sales said he felt extorted by the request to pay back $45,000, since he saw no evidence that is how much his wife took. That is why he rejected the offer last year to avoid criminal proceedings in exchange for the larger sum, even though he knew it would end up being a public issue in his campaign.

On other note the Bozeman Daily Chronicle failed to note: in 2005, Sales was one of 9 legislators who voted against increasing penalties for elder abuse.

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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  • I sent the following to Mr. Sales in a Facebook message, Curious about a reply, I know the sentiment speaks the same feelings as many in the valley…………..Just wondering as a Bozeman conservative. Its hard to imagine voting for someone who lives side by side with a woman embezzling from her own mother, what would she do if given another opportunity with a bigger cash supply to manage? As a conservative, I'm having difficulty buying "It was a mistake, she'll fix it, etc". My "mistakes" are buying too much milk, it sours, etc. or I forget it's my turn to send in snacks for the 1st grade class. I don't even associate with anyone who would embezzle from their own mother, that's not my "brand" of friend. Moving forward, how do the majority, I'm assuming same as me, put trust in a household to govern our state when there are clear trust problems even within the prospective governing household?

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