I have to get this off of my chest even if it is a little late in coming.
The Montana GOP not-so-recently unleashed attacks on the Bullock campaign for having a paid-by-party spokesperson. Now, let it be known that I understand the legal conundrum this situation potentially presents, even if we were all assuming the issue was solved in May by the commissioner of political practices. However, there is a larger ethical question surrounding the complaint that I would like to have an honest conversation about.
Why is it more acceptable for Denny Rehberg to receive nearly 30k from Exxon Mobile in 2011-2012 than for a Bullock staffer to be paid by the Democratic Party, since this money is equally coming from “other” sources? This obvious juxtaposition reduces the complaint to watered-down, election season, finger pointing and, frankly, we should have no patience for it. Obviously, it would be naive to assume any Party or candidate is completely clean of outside money, but at least the Montana Dems have not tried to and hide their donors while “crying financial foul” at someone they do not want to see elected. Unfortunately, there is no sense of sportsmanship in politics.
Considering their fierce opposition to any kind of campaign finance regulation, I find it particularly brazen that the Montana GOP now cares about its enforcement. Keep in mind that this is the same group that wants to make contributions a secret so no voter can see who has paid for what. Yet, the GOP knows campaign finance ethics could be a decisive voting issue for the independent Montana base that has not forgotten Citizens United, even if the topic has been mildly written off on the national level. This realization is only heightened by the Montana Supreme court’s rejection of the challenge to the 40,000 signature strong I-166 which received bi-partisan support for its placement on the November ballot.