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Greg Gianforte Hires Another Out of State Firm for Tech Work

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In a frankly astonishing campaign finance report that reveals an incredible burn rate, Republican gubernatorial candidate has spent another $22,500 on online campaign services. The good news is that he has moved his business from Texas, Virginia, and Salt Lake City. The bad news? He’s still not relying on the Montana firms he claims he will support as governor.

Instead, Mr. Gianforte paid that $22,500 to the Prosper Group, based in Greenwood, Indiana, for a combination of web site development and online advertising.

gianfortetech

The Prosper Group, as James Conner noted back in January, “brags about its relationship with Wisconsin’s union busting governor, Scott Walker, and Americans for Prosperity.” Given Mr. Gianforte’s unwillingness to express an honest, direct position on Right to Work laws, it makes sense that he’d have his online presence constructed by the firm associated with Republican candidates and front groups that oppose the right to collectively bargain.

Two campaign finance reports in, and Mr. Gianforte has spent over $70,000 on out-of-state firms doing the kind of work that Montana developers could easily have accomplished, had they the stomach to work for his campaign. While that $70,000 certainly would have offered a practical benefit to the firms he could have hired here, the more important damage is symbolic. Despite arguing that he will bring high-tech jobs to Montana, Gianforte is sending the message that he doesn’t believe in their talents and skill. He’s sending the message that Montana businesses just can’t compete.

And that’s the kind of messaging that even the $5,818 Mr. Gianforte is paying a company called Salient Point from Boston, Massachusetts to write his Montana political message for him won’t be enough to explain away.

 

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 is an eighteen-year teacher of English, 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.

12 Comments

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    • I’ve been railing against any Montana candidate or political party that hires out-of-state businesses to do the work that can be accomplished in-state. Sometimes they claim that the big money interests funding candidates and organizations demand certain firms be hired. (Another reason to get big money out of elections, but that’s a subject that needs more time and space than this short comment allows.)

      We’ll see how the rest of the campaign season shakes out in terms of Montanans using Montanans for advertising, marketing and promotion.

      • Let’s hope they pull their head out of you-know-where and start using Montana companies.

        Maybe it’s time I profile some Montana web design and advertising companies. Surely they exist. Surely they can do a great job.

        I mean, Gianforte is going around saying that Montana’s work ethic is unmatched. Well, then why aren’t you hiring our services, our talents?

        For the Dems, the North Carolina screw-up is just egg on the face. How long it’ll be dripping off isn’t known. They’re extremely lucky that their own party – now led for the past 4 months by a guy from New Jersey named Tim Gould – had an even worse screw-up, going to Germany for their site.

        That’s the only reason this will not become a campaign issue. Boy, Dems got lucky.

        Let’s make sure they don’t count on luck anymore. The screw-ups have to stop.

        Anyone have ideas on how that can start?

        • Greg and Pete, it’s nice to say that Dems should use Montana marketing firms and all, but the tragedy is that Montana Dems seem to think that local web design firms should just donate their services to the candidates out of the kindness of their hearts. I know, as I’m involved in three campaigns with a local ad/marketing/web firm as a developer who continually gets placed on the bottom of the bowl when it comes to paying for services. Oh, websites? WordPress is easy, you should be able to just volunteer that time. Montana Dems want to save all their money for media purchases, which of course just feed corporate profits in places like Davenport Iowa.

          • I hear what you’re saying, Bofur, believe me. Dems need to pony up. However, if there are those out their willing to donate their time to produce quality materials, well, sometimes that’s the only way we of little means can support campaigns.

            Since we tend not to be the big money party, especially here in Montana (and notice I use the word “tend”) some campaigns can use all the help they can get.

            I guess my point is, if a campaign has the money and there’s a qualified firm in Montana that can do the job, you better f***ing spend it here.

            • I called Nancy Keenan’s extension and left a message and hopefully she’ll get back to me with a comment on this strange turn of events.

              If not, I’ll try again tomorrow. I think we’re owed an answer on this.

  • Guess it’s time for someone to inquire!
    Which MT Dems?
    Which media aside from Lee Inc, in Davenport?

    The Lee that ID reports on.
    The Lee that got Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 2011 IN DELAWARE!

  • Don – the old “he/she spent X number of dollars out of state” is an old “he who lives in glasses houses” attack both sides have used (usually ineffectively) for years against political opponents. On closer look, it often turns out the side throwing the rocks is just as guilty of the same offense. We only have to take a look at your brief run for governor a few years ago as an example.

    With the exception of reimbursing yourselves for the candidate filing fee, $19.95 for checks (from an out of state based bank) and a drinks at your campaign party to celebrate your loss, you gave 100% of your remaining “war chest” to out of state companies including:

    Web Hosting: Liquid Web (Lansing, Michigan)
    Graphics and Campaign Printing: Graphicsland, Inc (Tinley Park, IL)
    (Montana C-5 Report May 25 to June 18, 2008)

    • You caught us.

      Of course, I wasn’t running on a campaign of bringing Internet jobs to Montana and the couple of hundred dollars on my campaign were a bit less than the likely to exceed $100,000 spent by Mr. Gianforte, but you caught us.

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