Greg Gianforte Montana Politics

Gianforte Has Supported Some of the Most Reactionary Montana Republicans: The Secessionists and Loons

Since the Montana press is largely letting Greg Gianforte’s past vanish from the special election, we’re going to repost some of the most important stories from our coverage of him last year. Collectively and individually, they paint a picture of a man who will not represent Montanans in a way we can be proud of.

Given that the Gianforte campaign has come out this week suggesting it was “flawed, if not outright inappropriate,” for the Montana media to question his donations to conservative organizations across the country because the donations were for “non-political work,” it seems obvious to take a look at the political candidates he’s chosen to support in his time in Montana. While it would make sense for a wealthy person interested in a bid for higher office in Montana to donate to Republican candidates, Mr. Gianforte has chosen to donate to some of the most reactionary members of the Montana Republican Party—and demonstrated a strange penchant for donating to candidate who have been investigated for breaking the law.

While there is certainly some serious overlap in these categories, over the next few weeks we’ll take a look at the kind of candidates Mr. Gianforte has supported, from the secessionists to the bigots to the crooks. Perhaps some in the Montana press will see fit to see if Mr. Gianforte has any reservations about the kinds of candidates he gave financial support to. Today, we’ll look at the secessionists and the states’ rights loons.

The Secessionists and Loons

  • Perhaps no contribution best demonstrates how dangerous Mr. Gianforte’s values are than his contribution to Derek Skees, who when not battling the very real threat of human micro-chipping or sporting Confederate flag wear, gives keynote addresses to the John Birch Society. Even more damning to Gianforte is that he made a contribution to the Skees campaign for Auditor in 2012, following the representative’s humiliating and slavery-endorsing tenure in the 2011 legislative session.
  • He also donated to Rep. Joel Boniek, a delightfully charming fellow who claimed that President Obama was the equivalent of Hitler, was fined $54,000 for campaign violations, and, who, when charged with resisting arrest in 2012, had supporters take over a courtroom and declared himself “in charge” of the courtroom.
  • He’s also donated to Representative Theresa Manzella, who recently not only defended the nitwit brigade that occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, but called for an uprising of the armed elements of the TEA Party to resist federal tyranny.
  • Presumably using precious metals, he donated to the campaign of Representative Jerry O’Neill, who demanded that he be paid in gold and silver for his legislative services, endorsed floggings for misdemeanors and felonies, and amend the Constitution to end the direct election of Senators.
  • He also felt it was a wise decision to donate to “Birther” Bob Wagner, who made a mockery of the state and its Legislature when he appeared on CNN to defend his bill designed to keep President Obama off the ballot in 2012. Wagner also proposed a bill demanding the state of Montana conduct its business in gold, offering the most delightful amendment to a fiscal note in the history of the Legislature.

Montana seems to be faced with a candidate who simply won’t tell us what he would do as governor if elected. Given his silence on all the important issues facing the state, voters—and the media—should look very carefully to see the kinds of politicians Mr. Gianforte has supported in the past.

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.


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  • Lee Inc. prints a sinle report on Gianforte donations to organizations,
    soon followed by Don Pogreba starting a series of reports
    on Gianforte donations to politicians and people in politics.

    I might have a different view of say Manzella, but that is now beside the big picture,
    Don will be posting a series of articles!

    imo ONLY, it will take citizen participation to achieve newsprint emulation
    of the articles within the series, and diminish irony of unintended consequences of newspapers out manuvering Don.

    So, how about asking for comment from readers from the area a Gianforte supported politician is from??

    For instance asking readers from Ravalli County to respond to Gianforte donations to Theresa Manzella. (I would not!)

    That may sound doctrinaire, but to my mind,
    may reduce a lot of noise and nonsense into the series,
    that could be of lasting importance to Montana!

    In other words, I’m shelving some of my narrow opinions,
    and waiting with un-baited breath for the ongoing series!

  • Maybe businessman Greg Gianforte is to the Republican Party what businessman Mike Kuchera was to the Democrat. Mike was a perpetual candidate for governor in the 1960’s. His campaign was always entertaining, complete with accordion polka music provided by Mike and family. Who knows if he actually wanted to be governor. But every voter understood that Kuchera did want to be the owner of the most successful furniture store in Billings.

  • Citizen participation with Senator Sanders at the Adam’s Field house.
    More participation than the Wilma could hold.
    Could they loan/ enhance sound at Adam’s?
    Loud sounds coming.
    Note, it’s a non traditional communicated event!

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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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