Since the revelation in May that Greg Gianforte had sued to block public access to East Gallatin River, his campaign has fed the people of Montana a steady diet of disinformation. They’ve sent surrogates out to contend that no lawsuit was filed, despite reporting from 2009 and the actual filing proving otherwise. His campaign released a treacly ad about what a “good neighbor” Greg was for letting people use a public easement they didn’t need permission to use. As the Cowgirl blog pointed out back in its original reporting on the story, being caught trying to block public access was a huge problem for Gianforte, as it reinforces the narrative that he’s little more than a wealthy carpet bagger who tried to keep Montanans from accessing their public lands.
That explains the rash of denials and tortured explanations that filing a suit is somehow not filing a lawsuit. What those rationales can’t explain away, however, is a recently released e-mail which shows that Mr. Gianforte was not only actively excluding the public from access, but that he had fenced off the easement. From March 2008:
It was a terrible decision to block access in a state where public access to rivers and streams is long held tradition. It was an even worse decision to put up a fence and file a lawsuit to maintain that refusal. But worst of all, is that the Gianforte campaign, which has lied again and again and again during this campaign not only lied themselves about his actions, but sent out surrogates to lie for him.
The evidence is clear: Greg Gianforte blocked public access with a fence and other measures. Since then, he’s continued to be dishonest about what he did and why. Isn’t it time for Mr. Gianforte to come clean and admit it?