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Ryan Zinke Can’t Raise Money in Montana Or Fill Out Campaign Finance Reports Accurately

Ryan Zinke

There is probably no statistic more telling about the difference between John Lewis and Ryan Zinke than this, from the Lee State Bureau’s Charles Johnson:

“Lewis reported that as of June 30, 71 percent of the money his campaign received came from Montanans, while 29 percent came from out-of-state contributors.

In contrast, Montana residents provided 28 percent of Zinke’s individual contributions, a Missoulian State Bureau analysis of campaign finance reports filed with the FEC showed. About 72 percent of Zinke’s individual donations came from out-of-state givers.”

It’s telling in two ways. The first, is that despite living in Montana his whole life, Ryan Zinke doesn’t seem to have that many people interested in donating to his campaign who live here. For someone whose press releases constantly mention how “well known” he is, Mr. Zinke seems to have a lot of Montanans who know him well enough not to donate.

The second thing it calls into question is just who Mr. Zinke will represent if elected. That he’s raised far more money in California and Texas than Montana gives some credence to the Lewis campaign’s charge that Zinke won’t really represent the interests of Montanans. At this pace, Zinke will be running for Congress from Santa Barbara before year’s end.

It also lays bare the absurd claim the Zinke campaign has been making when it suggests that John Lewis can’t represent Montana because he’s worked in Washington, D.C. Lewis’s job has seen him working all across the state, working for the people of Montana, while Mr. Zinke has been on a non-stop self-promotional tour. After all that, it seems people in Montana would rather donate to Lewis. I wonder why.

On another note, it seems that Mr. Zinke’s lack of transparency isn’t limited to his military records. According to Open Secrets, 20% of his donors do not fully disclose their information. In fact, just under 18% have no disclosure about their employment, as required by law. In contrast, John Lewis has 99.5% of his donors with full disclosure. It makes me wonder what Zinke is hiding.

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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    David Nugent
    San Francisco

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