Liar, Liar: Mr. Gianforte Has An Honesty Problem

Earlier this week, GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte told a lie about Facebook in the announcement about his absurd tax “plan.” He claimed that “Facebook” had told him the biggest barrier to opening a facility in Montana was the state’s business tax. It seemed like a bullshit claim at the time—and wasn’t verified by anyone in the Gianforte campaign. One of the state’s new AP reporters, Bobby Caina Calvan did something that the media just does too infrequently: he checked with Facebook to see if they had said what Gianforte claimed.

From the Flathead Beacon:

Facebook spokesman Andy Stone on Thursday said no discussions with Gianforte took place and the tax was not the reason the company didn’t locate the center in Montana.

Now, a normal person, especially one so concerned with the moral lives of other people, would probably admit that that he had misspoken. A politician might call it a misunderstanding. But not Greg Gianforte. Even though Facebook said that the conversation had not taken place—and that business taxes had no part in their decision to locate data centers—Gianforte maintained that it had happened, because a former Facebook employee, one who had no role in choosing site locations, had made the claim on current Gianforte spokesman Aaron Flint’s rightwing radio show last year. Yeah:

Facebook said Flint’s guest was a low-level former employee who had no direct involvement in data center planning or operations. Facebook also said the employee left the company about a year ago. Flint’s guest, Dean Roberts, said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday night that he was not speaking on behalf of Facebook on the radio program or when he later spoke with Gianforte.

And that’s not all. Mr. Roberts denied making the claim:

Roberts denied telling Gianforte that Facebook’s reason for not pursuing a data center in Montana was because of the business equipment tax. “I would have been under no official capacity to comment on that on behalf of Facebook. … Nor was I ever authorized to do that,” Roberts said.

Everyone misspeaks. It’s inevitable. What’s not out of our control, though, is the decision to acknowledge that we have misrepresented the truth and make an apology. At the root of this campaign that is spun as one about jobs is an ugly truth: that Mr. Gianforte will lie about his plans for unions, will lie about his intentions to sign discriminatory laws, and now, will lie about his claimed area of expertise, government’s role in creating tech jobs.

A lot of credit should go to Mr. Calvan for checking out this story. Let’s hope that the press continues to apply this level of scrutiny to this candidate who just can’t seem to tell the truth.

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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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  • Well. I hope someone on your hilltop is working this (below) into a counter-attack ad.  This is what I refer to as the FOXNews syndrome, an affliction broadly shared by both the network’s “journalists” and its (generally crimson) audience. One – embrace a self-serving notion at odds with facts or realities. Two – find someone, anyone, who will agree with you. Three – advertise your notion citing the authority or expertise of whoever that someone was who agreed with you. Four – if challenged, attribute the challenge to a left-wing liberal elitist conspiracy to silence truth-tellers and insinuate Sharia law into the fabric of American life.  lud Facebook Disputes Claims of Gianforte – Flathead Beacon

    |   | |   | |   |   |   |   |   | | Facebook Disputes Claims of Gianforte – Flathead BeaconHELENA — In a recent campaign speech, gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte asserted that Facebook passed over Montana for a data center because of the state’s… | | | | View on | Preview by Yahoo | | | |   |

  • Facebook cited “renewable energy, an educated workforce and an open, nondiscriminatory environment as criteria for locating new data centers” – all things Gianforte despises. Gianforte as Governor would keep businesses that share Facebook’s values from ever locating in Montana.

  • Gianforte also lies every time he says he came to Montana poor and then started a business in a basement from nothing. The fact is Greg was a multi-millionaire before he moved from California to Montana having sold Brightwork Development to McAfee Associates in 1994. Gianforte did not make his fortune in Montana, he increased it! According to his childhood classmates accumulation of wealth has always been GG’s life goal, as a kid he even undercut a neighborhood mom and pop store by buying Gatorade and Coke in bulk and selling it illegally it to other kids in his high school parking lot.

  • Gianforte also lies every time he says he came to Montana poor and then started a business in a basement from nothing. Greg Gianforte in fact was a multi-millionaire before he moved from California to Montana having sold Brightwork Development to McAfee Associates in 1994. GG’s just not very honest…

    • Thanks. Double G wants folks to think he arrived with NOTHING in Bozeman and built it all from scratch, BS GG!

  • Keep cranking these out Don, but I’m afraid that they’ll do little good.

    Your side just won’t show up next November.

    “Newly compiled data after the New York Republican primary shows that among the states that have voted so far in 2016, GOP primary and caucus turnout is up well more than 8 million votes and well more than 60 percent over 2012’s process.

    Top GOP officials say that the intense interest in the GOP primary throughout the year so far only serves to benefit the Republican nominee in November, whoever it ends up being.

    In total, so far, nationwide the GOP has seen an increase of 8,719,041 votes in 2016’s primaries, caucuses and conventions over 2012’s primaries, caucuses and conventions. In 2012, 14,452,500 people voted in each of the states and territories that have held contests so far in 2016. In 2016, 23,171,541 people have voted in the GOP contests so far. That is a 60.33 percent increase in GOP contest turnout in just four years.”-Breitbart News

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