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Gianforte Owns $47,000 in Shares of a Company Connected to ISIS Payoffs

One of the trumped up justifications in the endorsements of Greg Gianforte from the Big Three Lee papers was the idea that he possesses some kind of special attention to detail given his work as a software mogul. That attention to detail does not seem to apply to his retirement account, as weeks after it was revealed he owns shares in Russian companies under U.S. sanctions, we learned today that he owns shares in a company that has been linked to payments to ISIS.

From the Huffington Post:

A Republican congressional candidate owns a stake in a French-Swiss cement company accused of making payments to the Islamic State militant group in Syria, according to financial disclosures HuffPost reviewed.

Greg Gianforte, the millionaire GOP contender for Montana’s open seat in the House, reported owning $47,066 worth of shares in LafargeHolcim as recently as December. The shares are in an individual retirement account at TWP, a brokerage firm and private wealth manager, on which he and his wife, Susan Gianforte, are listed as trustees.

Gianforte’s allies in the state’s largest paper were quick to excuse his investment in the Russian companies, arguing that Gianforte does not actively manage his portfolio, even when it was revealed he invested in GazProm AFTER the Russian invasion of Crimea and it was never disclosed that Gianforte absolutely could have directed his funds away from the Russian stock.

The latest news about LafargeHolcim is even more complicated for Gianforte, though, as conservative media outlets made huge waves about the company last fall when it hurt Hillary Clinton. Even though Clinton has been on the board of the company 25 years earlier, Breitbart reported that it was enormously important:

Hillary Clinton sat on the board of a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) partner that is under investigation amid accusations that it supplied funds to the Islamic State during negotiations with the terrorist group.

Donald Trump, in a speech during which he called Secretary Clinton “devil,” claimed that connection to the company mean that she was helping fund ISIS. His spokesman went further, alleging that the monetary connection represented a tie to Islamist regimes:

“More than any major presidential nominee in modern history, Hillary Clinton is tied to brutal theocratic and Islamist regimes. Now we learn she has accepted money from a company linked to ISIS,” Trump senior policy adviser Stephen Miller said in a statement.

For someone making such an enormous fuss about his opponent struggling to pay bills after a bad surgery, Mr. Gianforte sure seems unwilling to accept responsibility for his own investments and financial choices. Investors in funds absolutely can establish guidelines about their investments, can review their holdings and make changes, and can even only invest in ethical funds. The returns might not be as great, but that’s probably a price someone who is worth as much as $300 million can afford to bear, no matter how many times he tries to buy elected office.

Given that Mr. Gianforte has had no discernible job (despite Biblical condemnation of retirement), he certainly has had the time to review his financial holdings and make sure that he’s not investing in companies like these. That he seems so unwilling to pay attention to details like that suggest both that the editorials praising his attention to detail were wrong and that he cannot be trusted to focus on the small details of the federal budget that are so important to Montana.

And given his inhumane, cruel exploitation of refugees from the Middle East, it’s especially galling that Mr. Gianforte is cashing checks with money derived from the very people helping to cause that crisis.

Did anyone vet this guy before they nominated him?

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 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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