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Why Is Brad Johnson Using His Official E-Mail for Politics?

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Brad Johnson is perhaps the best example of a man failing up to a position he’s unqualified for as I can imagine. After a disastrous term as Secretary of State, he ran for and lost bids for the Public Service Commission and Secretary of State before somehow getting himself elected to the PSC, where he was installed as its chair.

In that role, Johnson has carried water for major utilities. Of late, that’s meant getting himself in a fight with Independent candidate Caron Cooper, who has argued persuasively that not only is the current PSC responsible for an increase in electricity rates, but that the Republican commissioners can’t even seem to agree on the rate of increase.

As she noted in a recent press release:

My guess is that the commissioners are using data already interpreted for them by NorthWestern Energy without doing the most basic of sanity checks with objective outside data sources. How, for example, could it even be possible that the increase was 2.6 percent or 5.1 percent when everyone is in agreement that NWE’s purchase of the hydropower dams in 2014 increased electricity rates by 8 percent? Furthermore, the two of them don’t even agree – one says rates went up at 5.1 percent, the other says 2.6 percent

Mr. Johnson has never been great at math, and it’s certainly frustrating to have a PSC that is more interested in promoting the agenda of Northwest Energy than in honestly discussing the rate increases they have permitted in their terms in office.

Johnson was so upset that he sent a letter to the editor to Montana newspapers, a clearly political piece that was designed to attack a candidate who, while not running directly against him, is running against his agenda. At least four papers published the letter, which was sent during the work day from his state account:

Mr. Johnson has every right to be involved in politics, though I’m hard pressed to imagine a candidate other than Roger Koopman who would welcome his support. What he doesn’t have a right to do, however, is use state time and resources to publish and promote poorly-written political arguments, even if it’s something he has done in the past.

Come on, Brad. It’s bad enough that you’re not looking out for Montana ratepayers during the day. Can you at least not use our time and resources for politics?

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.

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