Governor Schweitzer on John Walsh: “A Wonderful Leader”

Governor Schweitzer has weighed in on the report from the Army Inspector General about John Walsh, calling it a partisan smear not worth the paper it was printed on:

Schweitzer called the inspector general’s report “much ado about nothing” and ignored it.

Schweitzer blew off the investigative report as “a completely partisan end run in the National Guard attempting to embarrass him (Walsh).”

“Whoever it is in the Montana National Guard that’s trying to stir this thing up, they ought to be ashamed of themselves,” Schweitzer said. “He was a great adjutant general, a wonderful leader and Montana ought to be proud that he led Montana soldiers to war.”

Local conservative blogger Jackie Brown at The Western Word agreed that the story was only “earth-shattering to people who never served in the military.”

While partisan primary opponents and sad, anonymous, conservative Twitter accounts are attempting to make a mountain over this most insignificant of mole hills, even national  conservative blogs like Powerline recognize the story doesn’t have legs:

As scandals go, this one seems relatively harmless. But Walsh, if he’s the Democrats’ nominee, faces an uphill battle against Daines.

There’s the real truth. Walsh will face a challenge against Steve Daines, who will be well-funded and unwilling to say much of anything during the campaign. People interested in defeating Daines, should, as Schweitzer notes, focus on discussing John Walsh’s leadership of and advocacy for the National Guard, his work on suicide prevention for returning soldiers, and his service in Iraq.

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.

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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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  • If leadership is the issue then focus on the two generals that signed the IG report. See page 9.

    Those two generals have impeccable credentials and unassailable service records. For Schweitzer to suggest that those two men who signed the report and the soldiers serving under Walsh who filed the complaint were somehow part of a “plot” is beneath contempt.

    • Just out of curiosity, Craig, are you privy to the investigating officer’s service records? You claim that they have unassailable service records, but for all you know, there could be a specious claim like the one leveled against Walsh in their files. It’s nothing more than politics.

        • Answering a question Would be simpler if you answered instead of deflecting with another question!

          Just saying Craig. Brian Our last GOV says the report is RW BS, Are you saying you are privy to more information than HIm???

          • What I have said is that the two generals are men of immense character, accomplishment, and leadership. So much so that even Dem senator McCaskil praised General McCoy.


            Mrs. McCASKILL. Mr. President, today I wish to pay tribute to
            MG William Howard McCoy Jr. who is retiring on January 1, 2012, after
            37 years of exemplary active Federal service in the U.S. Army. He has
            served our Nation with dignity, honor, and integrity, including serving
            multiple tours at Fort Leonard Wood in the great State that I call
            home, Missouri…
            Throughout his lifetime of military service, MG William Howard McCoy,
            Jr. showed extraordinary professionalism, valor and integrity, and
            dedication to the mission. He leaves a legacy of tremendous leadership
            and genuine concern for the soldiers and civilians of the U.S. Army.
            Furthermore, he attributes his success to the loving support of his
            wife Mrs. Jill McCoy and his children. General McCoy may have only
            spent several assignments in Missouri, but his career embodies classic
            Missouri values: love of country and family; selfless service; “show
            me”–or, in other words, speaking with one’s actions not words; and
            being humble. I wish Major General McCoy and his family the very best
            in retirement and I congratulate Major General McCoy on a fabulous
            career of service to our Nation and to the cause of freedom.

            • Then there is General Chiarelli.

              Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the Army’s vice chief of staff, is leaving the Army in much the same manner that he served in it over the past decade: as an iconoclast.

              The general, who retires Tuesday, used a final interview with The Washington Post to argue that the law banning women from combat jobs in the military was an unnecessary anachronism — and that women are already effectively serving in combat roles.

              “I have felt for the longest period of time that on a nonlinear battlefield there are no safe jobs,” he said. “Everyone is in a situation where they are, in fact, in harm’s way.”

              Chiarelli insisted that the Army should set clear physical standards for combat jobs and then require men and women to meet them. “There is this mistaken belief that somehow that through prohibiting women in combat jobs we can protect them,” Chiarelli said. “I would rather have standards that we apply across the board.”

              Chiarelli made his case for allowing women to hold combat jobs as he prepared to leave the military after more than 40 years of service, including two combat tours in Iraq. Both tours came during periods when the insurgency in Iraq appeared to be gaining strength and U.S. casualties were mounting.

              As the Army’s second-highest-ranking general in the Pentagon, Chiarelli has pressed harder than any other officer to change the way soldiers view post-traumatic stress and other mental-health injuries. So far his efforts have not yielded a reduction in the Army’s record-high suicide rate — a source of disappointment to the general.

              Chiarelli’s passionate advocacy and willingness to criticize his own service, however, have won him admirers in the Pentagon and among soldiers and their families.

              This is what leadership and character look like. Norma. Those are qualities that you and Schweitzer are unable to recognize as you view everything through a partisan lens and insult these two distinguished military leaders..

              • And walsh has the same impeccable resume. But where is their service records Craig. Are you telling me these two guys are as saintly as Jesus Christ himself?

                What you just handed us were glowing reports any officer gets in Publication.

                Do you understand what I am saying, or are you ignoring the Question all together?

  • Walsh has got wartime military experience and experience during a tough fire season, that of 2000. That’s a record that should be talked-up – I don’t know why it isn’t. I think anyone that’s directed the National Guard to fight fires in the state should probably stay here as we’ll be needing that experience big time in the coming years.

    If this is all the dirt they can dig up on Walsh it should be a pretty tame campaign.

  • While you may be correct (that this is a non-starter attack on Walsh from the right), I think you are underestimating the value it will have for those that want to see Walsh defeated. When – in the last decade anyway – has “truth” mattered in politics? The Tea party staged a coup in 2010, largely on the back of lying to the public. This story may have no real “legs” as you put it, but it certainly has the capacity to impact Walsh’s campaign because, unlike much of what was used by the Tea Party, there is some official documents from the military to back it up.

    Now I am not saying that the findings are a reason not to vote for Walsh, but you can bet that there will be plenty of other people – including Daines – that will make political hay with it.

    I would also disagree with your assessment that anyone with prior military experience would disregard this. The fact that the investigation and the findings were done official will actually carry some weight with former military people. The ones more likely to dismiss this are those that have NOT been in the military.

    This is just my opinion, but this issue will not go away and it won’t help Walsh – either in the primary against Bohlinger or the General against Daines, regardless of how much people talk about his military experience or his handling of the fire season of 2000. Walsh is already playing a “come from behind” game with Daines (and possibly even Bohlinger) at this point and Walsh’s relative silence on issues has not made matters better. He needs to hire someone that understands social media (he is painfully lacking there…) and someone that can get him organized and in front of microphones. If he doesn’t, Bohlinger (with more name recognition) will hurt him in the primary and Daines will slaughter him in the general.

    The best scenario for Walsh is to be appointed to the Senate Seat being vacated by Baucus. If Bullock does appoint Walsh, he will gain the two things he needs to force Daines into actually engaging in this race – a platform to speak from and name recognition. Otherwise, Daines will stay in the shadows and win by default.

  • Mad Max’s Maxim: In politics, perceptions are reality.

    My own two: Democrats are motivated as follows: One, fear of the other party; two, winning elections, and a distant third, actual policy matters. Losing a senate seat is not a big deal, cold shower’s are good for the body.

  • Walsh’s defenders are either ignoring or perhaps hoping no one will notice that the recent Inspector General Investigation findings of wrong doing by Walsh is important because it provides yet one more glaring revelation in a growing series of poor judgment and management decisions by the Senatorial hopeful.

    So far, Walsh’s US Senatorial campaign can be summed up as the gift that keeps on giving to Montana Republicans. In 2012 we learned the Montana department under Walsh’s command dramatically failed a state departmental audit and one of his employee’s named him in a lawsuit over wrongful discharge and a DES culture of giving preferential treatment to employees in exchange for sex. His Facebook followers then learned of his deep if slightly creepy appreciation for the female form when he clicked on a website devoted to displaying women’s breasts to the world. Then, just in time for Christmas, we find out the latest contribution to Walsh’s drip, drip, drip campaign of bad judgment revelations is the Army Inspector General Investigation stating Walsh improperly used government resources and improperly endorsed a nonfederal entity. The investigation cited statements from subordinate officers claiming Walsh’s actions were “threatening” and “intimidating” and accused him of “coercion” and bullying behavior.

    The best Walsh’s political defenders and blog apologists can do at this point (with no evidence or credibility) is to blame this latest revelation on some fanciful political conspiracy by the investigating military officers and two Generals who signed the investigative report. They try to deflect voter’s attention by insisting people “focus on discussing John Walsh’s leadership” qualities but then immediately criticize anyone who actually looks at Walsh’s blemished resume and discovers a growing list of bad leadership decisions.

    This latest revelation won’t be the nail that puts Walsh’s political career in the coffin, but it is certainly adding more fuel to the “what the heck is this guy thinking” fire that is starting to smolder in voter’s minds. Thanks to a campaign strategy that is almost void of substance, voters may not know where Walsh stands on practically any political issue, but they now know he has a penchant for routinely making poor and embarrassing decisions these past few years. Now, the question is, what will be Walsh’s next foolish mistake or bad leadership decision to make front page headlines. Drip, Drip, Drip.

    • I think you are dramatically overstating the impact of this story. Outside of pretty narrow confines about people who follow politics closely, no one is talking about it.

      If Walsh’s opponents who leaked the story thought it mattered a great deal, they probably wouldn’t have leaked it in a news death zone around the holidays.

      Sure, the two major Republicans in the race, Daines and Bohlinger, will try to make hay out of it, but the race will turn on the issues it usually does: big money, policy, and personality. You’re right that anyone facing Daines will have a challenge on his/her hands, but a story like this won’t matter much in the end.

      • Don, not to sound combative, but you can’t possibly know that “no one is talking about it”. It is obvious that at least someone is talking about it given that this story has been discussed on at least four Montana political sites that I am aware of and been carried in at least four major Montana newspapers. Moreover, I recognize that it is your opinion that Pogo is overstating the case – it is just an opinion I do not share.

        I would also take exception to your characterization that it was a throwaway leak “in a news death zone”. The timing of the story was deliberate following the announcement that Baucus was going to be the next Chinese Ambassador. Nor is this the first time this story has circulated. It made the rounds when Bullock was running for Governor and tapped Walsh as his running mate. It didn’t gain any real traction then because the campaign was about Bullock, not Walsh. The situation is different now.

        I do not believe that this is the end of the story either. Given that it has surfaced before, it is going to surface again. Moreover, I believe that there is more to this story because a number of questions haven’t been answered such as – Why was a sitting General – found guilty of using his position to support a private organization up to and including coercion not punished. Any former member of the military is going to be asking this question. When you can be punished under an Article 13 for getting a sunburn, why was this General not sanctioned? Did this finding have anything to do with Walsh choosing to retire?

        I think it is simplistic to think that this story is over or even fully developed and I doubt that it has gone away. Expect this story to be retold if Bullock taps Walsh for Baucus’s Senate seat.

        There is one part of your response that I do agree with, though. This issue is not likely to make much difference unless Walsh goes to the Senate. Walsh is currently not running a campaign and Daines will steamroll him in the General if Bohlinger doesn’t do so in the primary. If Walsh does go to Washington, then I predict that this story will be repeated loudly and often until Walsh puts it to bed.

    • You make a lot of good points, I just wonder if people will remember them in 11 months, or if the Republican’s can keep them front and center.

      Frankly, Walsh remains a mystery to me.

  • Totally a non Starter story, inside and outside the beltway. This is the Montana version of a Benghazi. And people like Craig the Darrel Issa’s of Montana Pushing a storyline about Walsh that’s non existent.

    Lastly, the real Republicans of the state party, the handlers of Steve Daine’s Campaign are not touching this story… it seems only the fringe are pushing it.

    The bigger news in all reality for Montana papers about Walsh….was getting a flu shot in November.

    I am totally wondering why the RW fringe aren’t calling this some type of control shot from Harry Reid?? You know where John all of a sudden has Super Powers over other Dem Candidates like Dino Bolinger.

    Yah, thats right! I cant understand why Brigham isn’t screaming some conspricy BS over that shot either?

  • I challenge the person who filed the complaint against Walsh, and the person who leaked the confidential report, to step forward, to identify themselves, and to explain themselves. If they’ve done nothing untoward, they should be proud to step into the sunlight instead of practicing hit-and-run politics.

    • James, the person who filed the complaint is a matter of record. Their names were released in both the Missoulian article and the one carried in the Billings paper. Furthermore, your question shows a somewhat simplistic view of military justice. Once the Inspector General gets involved (and it really doesn’t take much in the case of a General accused of wrongdoing), the investigation takes on a life of it’s own. The Inspector General of the Army has more authority than the stereotypical prosecutor. A better analogy would be the special prosecutor for Congress.

      As far as who leaked the case – that could realistically have been any number of people. The idea that military records are “closed” is popular fiction. It could have come from any number of Republican Congressmen or it could have come from some source in the military. The source of the leak doesn’t really matter to it’s substance and that is the disconnect I think many are having here. This is a real story about a real finding by the Inspector General of the Army. This isn’t a “trumped up” rumor and it isn’t and misreported event. It is a fact that the report stipulates that General Walsh violated Army protocol by using his position to support a private organization for the personal gain of obtaining a position with that organization. It is also a fact that he used what the Army deemed “undo influence and/or coercion” to accomplish that goal. Whether you think it is significant or not, this story is real.

      • Then wheres the service records of the people who told this fluff story about John in the first place? Why are we listening to people we cant smell for purity first? Wheres the Service records of these men, instead of press releases!

        I becha Gov Brian was right about this, I betcha these people lost promotions to John Walsh and these are vaporus charges, Lousy losers of Military title and green jealousy!

      • Help me out. I’ve read all the stories I can find in the Gazette and Missoulian, and I’ve read the six-page IG’s report, but I somehow have missed the name of the officer filing the complain. In the IG’s report the complainer is identified only as an officer assigned to the Montana National Guard. Who filed the complaint?

        Every page of the IG’s report states “For official use only. Dissemination is prohibited except as authorized by AR 20-1.” I had no idea that leaking the report to blacken the reputation of a candidate for the U.S. Senate was authorized official use.

        • Again, James, you misunderstand how military justice works. It all relates to the chain of command. Let’s say that soldier “John” feels intimidated by a superior. He takes that issue to his superior (assuming it is different than the one he has issues with). It isn’t a “Formal complaint”. It is an issue. The person receiving the report has a specific set of options available to him/her. If the military justice system is invoked to do an investigation, then they take over completely. There is no formal complaint, per se, except the one issued by the military justice system. It is set up this way to preserve the chain of command.

          I realize it is sometimes hard to understand that the military has their own justice system on top of the justice system we all have to adhere to. If you truly want to understand it, pick up a copy of the UCMJ. It will be an eye opener for you.

          I have already addressed your issue with the release of the report. Any Congressman (or their representatives) could have accessed this report officially and while there is no information available that I can find on who released it, it is likely to have come from that source. It is shitty and backhanded – I will certainly grant you that – but it is also a function of how politics work in the US. Complaining about it doesn’t change anything and both parties do it. It would be far more productive to deal with the report itself rather than try to point fingers about how it was released.

        • James, officers involved have already stepped forward, identified themselves and explained themselves to their commanding officers within their chain of command. Those are not actions taken lightly by any military officer.

          Walsh’s ignoring the findings of the investigation, his refusal to admit his error, his attempt make excuses and his willingness to blame others to excuse his actions says more about his poor leadership and decision making process than his violation of Defense Department ethics rules that started the investigation.

          Every time Walsh tries to tout his military leadership and his support of his troops, someone should ask him if he has apologized to those subordinates his superiors found he tried to threaten, intimidate, coerce and bully. That may be one of the first questions to expect in a Primary debate, asked either by a moderator or by Bohlinger.

          • If members of the military regarded those e-mails as bullying and intimidating, we have some serious problems.

            Given that the military also didn’t punish Walsh, it’s pretty hard to make the case that anyone other than partisans will care about it.

            • See, Don, there is the rub. First, the emails do constitute coercion under the UCMJ. Agree or not, this the way the UCMJ is written.

              Second, (and this is the disconnect we are having), the very fact that the military didn’t overtly punish General Walsh is the problem. I wasn’t kidding when I said that you can be punished under Article 13 of the UCMJ for getting a sunburn. I have seen it done.

              As far as Pogo’s comments – I am not quite as convinced as he is but I do have some questions that I would liked answered about this. Many others – especially those that have served in the military – will to.

              • Moorcat, Pogo:

                You’re both doing a masterful, but unconvincing, job of trying to obfuscate the facts by resorting to military jargon and what you argue is truth about the military. But you’re blowing smoke.

                Here’s what happened. Walsh used his federal email account to encourage some, but not all, of his commissioned and warrant officers to join a private organization that functions as an advocacy group for the national guard. An officer — whose name is yet unknown — assigned to the Montana guard took exception to Walsh’s emails and complained to the U.S. Army’s inspector general that Walsh was abusing his authority. Officer SoFarUnknown complained of feeling threatened.

                After an investigation, the IG concluded that Walsh’s email were a technical violation of army regulations. The conclusion was documented in a six-page report that’s a fine example of anal retentive bureaucratese.

                The report, as I noted above, was for official use only and not for dissemination. Nevertheless, it was provided subrosa to a newspaper reporter at the time Walsh’s name emerged as a bona fide possible for appointment to the Senate to serve the remainder of Baucus’ term.

                Now, we know the names of the general who signed the report. But we don’t know the name of the officer who bellyached to the IG. That’s the person who needs to step forward, along with the person, who might be one and the same, who leaked the report.

                What was Officer SoFarUnknown’s relationship to Walsh? Did SFU hold a grudge against Walsh? Was the gripe about being subjected to improper command influence the equivalent of a false claim of rape, an accusation designed to obtain revenge on Walsh? Was SFU a malcontent? A mediocre officer? An insubordinate officer who was reprimanded by Walsh? Let’s find out.

                What we have now is a six-page report without context that was distributed on a bootleg basis for the sole purpose of adversely affecting a campaign for the U.S. Senate.

                This isn’t about military procedures. It’s about someone in the military, or who was in the military, conducting a clandestine campaign to affect an election.

                This stinks to high heaven and brings to mind the genre of unsavory officers who provided the inspiration of Seven Days in May.

              • James, that was a nicely written speech and it was complete crap. Have you even read the information that has been written on this as well as the six page report? I have. It was not just one officer, it was actually a number of members of his command and it involved a hell of a lot more than just an email. If that is all you got from the report, you didn’t understand any of the “anal retentive bureaucratese.”

                • I accept your compliment on how my comment was written.

                  And, of course, I reject your overheated accusations of ignorance, etc., which are really no more than expressions of frustration that I disagree with you. Which, of course, I do.

                  Please allow me to direct your attention to page 2, paragraph 1, of the IG’s report. It states that “an officer” — which means one officer — complained of improper command influence.

                  Who is that officer? Who leaked the report? What is the context? Why are people with a connection to the military, possibly people in the military, leaking “for official use” only documents to meddle in a political campaign? They should step forward and identify themselves. Now. Right now.

                • According to a real Military officer, aka my son.

                  The Officer in question broke military law leaking those Documents.

                  If caught he will be punished, and possibly booted out without GI benefits.

                  Lastly, It wasn’t a big deal regarding Walsh. Thats why nothing happened regarding Walsh.

                  Right wing People are making a mountain out of a molehill.

  • One of the disconnects people commenting here have about this story is a lack of understanding how the military – especially the military justice system – works.

    In the civilian world, if you feel wronged, you file a complaint. That complaint is yours and you are attached to it from the beginning to the end. This is an example of “bottom up” justice.

    In the military, it is exactly reversed. The original complaint has no value. The military is entirely a “top down” structure that is done that way to maintain discipline and the chain of command. It doesn’t matter who made the original complaint. The complaint has no meaning until the Inspector General’s office issues the official complaint and it’s findings. The investigation, the judgment and the discipline is all “top down”. The officers and enlisted men that came forward about General Walsh’s activities are nothing more than evidence in a top down investigation.

    IF this was a hatchet job (as many here are alluding to), then it was a hatchet job done to Walsh in the Inspector General’s office (or higher…). I have a hard time buying that for many reasons, but the most important one is that what Walsh did (which, btw, he hasn’t denied he did) in endorsing and actively aiding a private organization is most definitely against military rules. Even if he did not do it for personal gain (and the report is pretty specific that it was), it is still breaking the rules. It doesn’t matter if the organization he was carrying water for is a great organization – it is still against the rules.

    As an analogy – If you rob a bank and then donate the money to a worthy charity, your charitable act does not mitigate your criminal act. This is the issue that many following this story are struggling with – especially those of us that have been in the military. We KNOW that what Walsh did is a violation of the UCMJ – regardless of whether we agree with his actions or not. You can dress this up any way you want to, but unless you really understand the UCMJ and military protocol, you can’t understand why this is a big deal.

    • I think you might be misunderstanding my point. It’s certainly possible that Walsh committed some technical infraction, as the report indicates. That doesn’t mean the initial complaint wasn’t partisan hackery over an issue that, while technically a violation, wasn’t uncommon among commanders in the military.

      The facts that a) the military didn’t punish Walsh, b) that Governor Schweitzer wasn’t concerned about it, c) that Governor Bullock’s team didn’t think it was serious enough to disqualify Walsh from consideration as Lt. Gov, and d) that Rick Hill didn’t make a real issue of it in his spare no slime campaign all suggest it’s just not that serious.

      Sure, Walsh’s political opponents are and will continue to try to use it to hurt him. I just don’t think it’s going to matter.

      • I didn’t misunderstand your position, Don. I really didn’t. You may well be right – I have admitted that possibility. What I am concerned with is that there is no such thing as a “technical” infraction in the military. This is something you just don’t get. The rules in the military are cut and dried for a very good reason – it is the only way to maintain discipline and confidence in the chain of command.

        I completely understand that Bullock, Reid and Schweitzer have dismissed this issue. I think that is simplistic, but that is my opinion. As far as Hill, I have already stated my opinion on that. Hill did try to use this story and it gained no traction because the campaign wasn’t about Walsh – it was about Bullock. It wasn’t “juicy” enough for Hill (in part because I don’t think he understood the significance of it any better than most of the commenters here do).

        I will be “juicy” enough for Daines, though. Of that I am absolutely certain.

    • I would also point out that this story will have the most impact on Walsh’s strength – his military background. This state is very “Veteran Heavy” and it is the veterans that will understand this story the most. If you wanted a cookie cutter attack on a candidate with military experience, this was made to order.

      I will withhold any further judgment until Walsh has had a chance to directly address it (beyond his current dismissal). If he does continue with his denial and dismissal of this issue, I will be very disappointed.

      • I have already stated what I think he should do. I think he should admit that what he did was wrong, but stick with his assertion (rightly… ) that the organization he was carrying water for is a beneficial organization for military members with a long history of supporting our men and women in uniform. NOTHING would diffuse this issue faster than that – let me explain why.

        In the military, at the end of the day, everything is resting on the shoulders of the men and women at the top. If something goes wrong in a command, the commander of that command is ultimately responsible – whether he really is or not. There is a time to admit a mistake and for a commander, doing so can actually strengthen his command. This is one of those times.

        To ignore this makes Walsh look more politician than General and since being a General is his strength, it is a bad decision for him. I would have nothing but respect for Walsh if he did so. I am personally tired of “politics as usual”. I want to see a real leader I can get behind and vote for. At this point, Walsh is not looking like that to me.

  • Part of Walsh’s defense is that he did not receive personal gain. The Military Times does a better job than most of the Montana papers explaining why the Inspector General report found he did in fact receive personal gain:

    ”The investigation followed a complaint by a National Guard officer that said Walsh used his position as head of Montana’s Department of Military Affairs and his government email to pressure subordinates to join the National Guard Association of the United States.

    Walsh was seeking to be nominated as vice chairman of the private association and wrote that his opponent would likely bring up the low membership of Montana National Guard troops in the association as an issue, the report said.

    Subordinates who did not join received a follow-up email that said he was concerned those subordinates “do not support my priorities which is to improve the readiness of the MTNG which NGAUS clearly does,” according to the report.

    The Defense Department’s ethics rules prohibit an endorsement of a non-federal entity such as the National Guard Association of the United States by department employees in their official capacities.

    DOD employees also are prohibited from endorsing membership drives or fundraising for non-federal entities, and cannot use their position to coerce another person to provide any benefit to themselves.

    The report says Walsh incorrectly interpreted the rules to determine that he was not a DOD employee and that he incorrectly believed the association was not a non-federal entity.”

    • And that slightly more detailed reporting still shows that it’s entirely inconsequential. Your long quote left this out, too:

      He was not disciplined for the violations, Lee Newspapers of Montana reported.

      It seems like the Army IG followed its procedures, issued a ruling, and basically said “this doesn’t matter.” Just like Montana voters will.

      • Look and spin an much as you want, Don, but the IG report never said or even suggested that “This didn’t matter.” You might want to re-read Moorcat’s comments on this issue.

        As I mentioned in an earlier comment, this one issue by itself, is not going to be “the” deciding factor in either the Primary or General election. But it does show a growing pattern of poor judgment and management decisions by Walsh and it becomes part of the drip, drip, drip of revelations that will be harder and harder for voters to ignore.

        • You are the one desperately trying to spin this. I honestly hope Republicans spend A LOT of time on this nonsense. It won’t get them anywhere.

          I understand why a conservative would want to distract people from Steve Daines’s terrible voting record. You’re just going to have to do better than this.

          • Yes, if my inbox over the past couple hours is any indication of what Montanans have to look forward to over the coming months from both parties than I really need to open a headache medicine business.

          • Don this post ‘Governor Schweitzer on John Walsh: “A Wonderful Leader”’ is yours. Any waste of time comes from you and other Dem partisans whining about the IG report as reported in the press and attempting to make it partisan rather than the professional military document that it is. The report came out in 2010. Second, it’s not Schweitzer that gets to define the leadership of Col. Walsh, but rather the soldiers he lead,solicited and coerced.

  • One last comment and then I will leave this alone.

    Don, you asked me what I wanted. The short answer is this –

    Give me a man that will lead us when we are shit deep in alligators (an obscure Navy saying) and I will follow him into hell.

    Give me just another stuffed suit and I am not interested.

    • I think your standards are going to make it hard to find a candidate. The “personal gain” and “coercion” alleged in this case is laughable. I’d guess no candidate will measure up to what you’re looking for, but I could be wrong.

      • “The “personal gain” and “coercion” alleged in this case is laughable.”

        Glad you and Walsh saw something funny in it. I didn’t see any evidence that the military officers who conducted and issued the IG report were laughing. I asked a few of my JAG acquaintances and they didn’t see anything laughable about it either.

        Again, it’s this type of dismissive arrogant attitude and blaming military subordinates that may cause Walsh more harm than the original act. Drip, Drip, Drip

        • There is nothing more laughable than someone who posts under the name Pogo Possum pretending that he has sources that confirm his position. Once again, while this is complicated, the military did not impose any punishment. You can’t dispute that. Non-issue, no matter how many times you repeat the same argument.

          • Just a suggestion Don……..when you have to resort to defending your position by criticizing someone’s screen name it’s a sign you aren’t doing very well.

              • Now you are pretending to know me and pretending to know who I know and don’t know. Again, a sign you are not doing well.

                Give it a rest Don. You are better than this.

                • I have no idea who you are and that’s my point. Why would anyone believe your claim to have spoken to a number of “JAG acquaintances”? You resorted to that because you can’t explain why, if this was a serious matter, the military did nothing. Answer that. Why no punishment for Walsh?

                • Don, that seems to be the $64,000 question, doesn’t it? Did Walsh take a deal to retire? Was there some kind of closed door reprimand? No one knows at this point. NONE of the information on this story claims that the Army felt it “was no big deal”. That has been and continues to be an assertion by you and others on the left. I have a hard time accepting that this was “no big deal” given what I have seen with my own eyes of the military justice system.

                • Walsh stayed in the military after the report. Speculating about punishment he received not only seems unfair; it ignores that reality. I’m also pretty sure his approach would be very different if he had actually been punished, given someone’s willingness to disseminate private military records for political gain.

                • I think most people would consider a reprimand punishment. He wasn’t fined or reduced in rank, but he was issued a stinging reprimand that called into question his ability to lead. That blocked his path to flag rank. I think by any practical measure he was punished. Whether he should have been punished for parking ticket genre misstep is a different question.

                  Walsh, by not handling this well, has compounded the damage to his campaign. I now fear he’s lost too much blood to have the strength to win.

                • Kinda doubt it, If it was just a reprimand. Speculation about losing a job he might not have been personally vying for in the first place is all this is…. Speculation

                  Yeah see, My opinion is that Walsh has already gotten Max’s spot. That’s one of the very reasons he isn’t saying anything yet for campaign rhetoric. He walks in a blank page, to the senate, while Daines campaign staff goes for all the old reliable tea party crap of fear-mongering and hating Obamacare that’s losing even here. Steve is painting himself into a corner, he cant get out of. Walsh’s people are happy to sit idly by and say nothing, while he does it.

                • In anything past the Investigative report, the Un-named officer would have to divulge his name. If you want to speculate more honestly. lets say the particular unnamed officer was unwilling to be cross examined in a court of law.

                  That his story would fall apart on the witness stand.

                  That is more probable in this case!

                • I believe the un-named officer flung a little dirt Not knowing he would have to back his bullshit up in a court proceeding.

                  That he would be cross examined. Not knowing Walsh would be able to produce evidence on his behalf…. and Bolted!

                  This partison bullshit by the republicans Pure and simple!!!!

  • Simple answer Don. An Inspector General does not have authority to impose punishment. An IG Report is a finding of fact. It is left up to the military service person’s commanding officer to decide and issue or not issue punishment after being presented with the IG report. Walsh’s commanding officer was Governor Schweitzer who bragged about throwing the IG report in the trash. It was Democratic Governor Schweitzer, not “the military” who had authority and made the decision not to punish fellow Democrat John Walsh.

  • Dear Pogo,
    A finding of Fact is not a trial. Let me say this again for you RWers who have no Idea what a finding of fact is. It only decides if something is out of place regarding law. It is not a judgement whatsoever. it does not resolve both questions of law and fact. …….Only a trial does that.

    If the military went no further than an investigative report…. the issue is now moot!

    Please remove your head from you underwear, and move along Please!

  • Norma, please stop trying to help. Your convoluted attempted legal explanations make no sense and actually cause a headache when attempting to read. Pogo Possum is clearly some kind of state gop spin doctor and needs a more caring touch to be refuted.

    • For what it is worth Abe, while I definitely lean strongly Republican, I have no official capacity with the state or national GOP party or political PAC, nor am I coordinating any comments with any campaign. I am just someone who has been around a long time and has close friends across the political spectrum including Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and a few old New Party members. On occasion I like to either express an opinion, share information that has come my way, or simply try to interject some facts and reason into Montana’s blogosphere that I see more and more sadly deteriorating into a snake pit of intentional ignorance, rudeness, one upmanship and childish name calling aimed at fellow commentators.

      I am often impressed with the quality of some of the participants I see on many sites. A few regulars come to mind. Moorcat always provides excellent, insightful, well informed and well reasoned contributions to any blog room he enters. James Conners has a well written blog that provides interesting perspective and insight. Lizard strives to present his opinions and advocates for his causes with honest passion and a unique blend of editorial oratory and politically tinged poetry. He is generally courteous to visitors and isn’t afraid to go against the grain and criticize his own party.

      Best of luck this New Year, Abe. It should be an interesting year for Montana politics.

  • Update . . . . . .All those encouraging Montana voters to focus on John Walsh’s leadership abilities may want to look at the latest in Walsh’s continuing drip, drip, drip campaign of bad judgment revelations.

    The new revelation discloses the Inspector General report finding Walsh violated federal codes of ethics referred the matter to the Army Judge Advocate General which resulted in Walsh receiving a “memorandum of reprimand”. Confronted with this, “Colonel” Walsh now admits his promotion to Brigadier General was denied due to the formal letter of reprimand in which General Peter Chiarelli, vice chief of staff of the Army said Walsh’s “….actions were unacceptable, inconsistent with the conduct expected of our senior leaders” and stated Walsh’s “failure to adhere to Army Values causes me to question your ability to lead.”

    Also noteworthy is that he is the first leader of the Montana National Guard not to receive a promotion to General in the past 25 years.

    Drip, Drip, Drip.

    • PP – you are overlooking Walsh’s most impressive qualification for office – it seems to have slipped right by you. You wrote”Drip. Drip, Drip,” but what readers here see is “D, D, D.” The rest can be, is, overlooked.

    • Pogo–

      General Peter Chiarelli, vice chief of staff of the Army said Walsh’s “….actions were unacceptable, inconsistent with the conduct expected of our senior leaders” and stated Walsh’s “failure to adhere to Army Values causes me to question your ability to lead.”

      That rebuke is devastating to and claims of “wonderful leadership.” Now for Schweitzer to write a letter pleading the case for Walsh’s advancement only to be denied sorta puts the lie to Schweitzer’s claim that he threw the IG’s report in the trash when he received it. No respect there. For Walsh to claim this is not a big deal is also disrespectful. Two generals signed the IG report. James Connor wrote a post about this current matter. Remember, Walsh put on the pressure to join so that he, Walsh, would stand a better chance of being anointed for high position with the non-govt. entity.

      • Craig and his earth hater buddies are in full crisis mode:

        Montana’s Senate race is already shaping up to be among the most-watched in the country. And Friends of Max Baucus has already made several sizable donations to political groups: $100,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in Washington, D.C.; $50,000 to the Montana Democratic Party; $25,000 to the Montana Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, and so on. Additionally, Baucus’s Glacier PAC has spent thousands more in donations to the campaigns of other Democratic office-seekers. Lt. Gov. John Walsh, who is campaigning for Baucus’s Senate seat, is one of them. His campaign received $10,000 from Baucus’s political action committee.

        • Kurtz did you mean to call Jackie Brown an earth hater?

          The Lee Newspapers reporter also added a little salt to the wound writing that the one-star general rank was, “a rank all other Montana National Guard heads have achieved the past 25 years.”


          I explain it this way:

          Walsh wore the one star of brigadier general and the state recognized him for it, but the feds did not. He was not paid as a one-star general, but as a colonel.

          Governor Steve Bullock who picked Walsh as his running mate appeared on MTN news and crashed and burned trying to explain the situation. Bullock’s “bob and weave” and the rhythm of his delivery reminded me of Jeff Foxworthy getting ready to deliver a “you might be a redneck” joke. Bullock is a pretty terrible public speaker – just a notch or two above Sen. Max Baucus.

          So now what?

          It seems almost everyone on the left has endorsed John Walsh for U.S. Senate. It’s going to take several million dollars to change the negatives of Walsh – money that he may not be able to raise. This issue needs to go away and go away quickly for Walsh to mount a serious campaign against Daines.

          By the way, as of this morning nobody has filed to run for U.S. Senate in 2014. March 10 is the last day to file.

          Meanwhile, Republican Steve Daines can sit back and watch the Walsh show, and count the checks that are rolling in for his senate campaign. Right now about all Daines needs to do is to be careful not to throw Walsh and the Democrats a life preserver.

            • Larry, all you say may well be true but unless Daines opens his mouth and inserts his foot to the knee like Burns and Rehberg did, no one is going to see it. Daines is doing a wonderful job of campaigning given that he is the presumptive winner. All he has to do is make appearances at the proper places, shake a few hands, make some conciliatory speeches, and he will win – especially if Walsh doesn’t get on the ball and start campaigning. Daines is pushing the right buttons with the right people to ensure a victory and Walsh is AWOL from his own campaign.

              • Kenneth, regardless of whether James Conner believes Walsh has thrown a shoe, right now he’s our guy: we can either call the farrier or let the Moores of Montana try to put a bullet in his head.

                • Kurtzie, What’s with the “our guy” when you live in New Mexico. BTW, Walsh’s wounds are self inflicted. See

                  Still no serious Walsh campaign website

                  Walsh, incidentally, still doesn’t have a website worthy of a campaign for the U.S. Senate. It’s still a one-pager with a photo of Walsh with his head in the clouds that asks visitors for their contact information and money. And that’s all it does. It’s an egregious abdication of Walsh’s responsibility to present the voters with his stands on the issues.

                • Craig: the nominees for our party in Montana are going to get pretty good money from me and your trolling only stiffens my resolve.

                • Btw: the Powder River Training Complex is on my political radar and stopping it forces me into Montana’s politics so get used to it through the session and to November.

                • Kurtzie, define in US $$$ what you mean by “pretty good money.” Tell us how this will swing the election.

                • What happens in the Columbia River watershed is out my control, Craig but war is coming in the Missouri basin. When we are ready to tell you, you will know.

            • Let’s be upfront – very few readers of this site are going to vote for Daines (including me). What you are saying won’t effect Daines’ campaign in the least. What is true, is that many of the readers here MIGHT vote for Walsh and unless you can start giving us a reason to do so, Walsh will never win against Daines.

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