It was a pretty outstanding day for Representative Steve Daines today. It was so bad that even the Billings Gazette is reporting something negative about him. It’s a sign you’ve probably done something wrong when the newspaper captions a photo “the Montana Marine Corps League has asked to congressman to clarify that he didn’t intend to exploit them.”
It seems that when Representative Daines used your tax dollars to promote his candidacy for the Senate using his Congressional franking ability, he managed to include photos of veterans who don’t want to be used as political props.
From the Billings Gazette:
League members told The Gazette they were surprised to see their photo included in a mailer outlining Daines’ work for military veterans. The league characterized the mailer as a political brochure. It wrote Daines’ staff this week asking the congressman to clarify that he didn’t intend to exploit Marine League members.
It gets worse. The Marine League contacted Daines’s office and asked him to explain his actions or make it clear that he wasn’t suggesting a partisan endorsement. His office didn’t respond:
As veterans, we are, however, appreciative of the support given to veteran issues by all elected officials, including Congressman Daines. So, in a cooperative spirit, Steve Tozzi, State Adjutant and Paymaster for the Marine Corps League, sent a letter inviting a response from Congressman Daines. The letter went to campaign staff in Helena as well as a Strategic Communications Director in the Washington D.C. office. “We have yet to receive a response.” reports Tozzi. The silence has exacerbated the issue, drawing attention from other veteran service organizations in the Butte area.
And worse. The Daines mailer captions one photo “”Rep. Steve Daines discusses veteran’s issues with Marine Corps veterans, but the veterans say differently:
The veterans say the discussion never happened.
That Daines would use taxpayer money for a political gain is no surprise. Choosing veterans, however, was probably a risky move, as his voting record when it comes to veterans is one he should never highlight, given that he voted:
- against funding for traumatic brain injury research.
- against suicide outreach for veterans.
- against anti-hunger programs for veterans.
- against reducing the VA backlog.
There’s no money for veterans, for Steve Daines, but there’s money in the budget for glossy mailers lying about his support for them. That’s not how a fifth or first generation Montanan should act.