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Montana Politics

Montana Family Foundation is a cash cow for Laszloffy

Why does the Montana Family Foundation even exist?

I mean, really. Is there great concern in Montana over what gender someone believes should be on their birth certificate? Folks don’t arbitrarily switch genders for chuckles. Not even a pervert is going to go through the legal hassle of changing the gender assigned them at birth so they can get a peep at some boy’s or girl’s privates.

Nobody approaches gender identity half-heartedly. Talk to any transgender individual and they will explain the trauma of transitioning from the gender on their birth certificate to the one they actually identify with.

Enter the Montana Family Foundation (MFF). Its recent crusade is twofold: try to make it more difficult for transgender people to change the gender dictated on their birth certificates, and an initiative to keep boys from changing out in girl’s locker rooms or girls changing out in the boy’s — The Montana Locker Privacy Act.

The ACLU is challenging the MFF initiative. From the AP:

“This proposed measure legalizes discrimination,” said Alex Rate, legal director for the ACLU of Montana.

The ACLU and the plaintiffs argue the Locker Room Privacy Act would deprive transgender Montanans of equal protection under the law and violate their rights to privacy, dignity and due process.

The lawsuit asks the court to declare the initiative unconstitutional and to prevent Secretary of State Corey Stapleton from placing it on the November 2018 ballot.

You can be sure SOS Stapleton will toe the GOP party line and weigh in against the ALCU and, as is his leaning, ignore the Constitution.

MFF’s President/CEO Jeff Laszloffy responds to the ACLU lawsuit:

“High school girls shouldn’t be forced to shower in front of a boy, even if he does think he’s a girl. Boys shouldn’t have to change clothes in front of a girl.”

You’ve seen the headlines: “High school girls forced to shower in front of a boy.”

Are Montanans clamoring for the locker room initiative or a crackdown on birth certificate changes? I don’t think so.

I can only assume, then, that the Montana Family Foundation exists for the benefit of Laszloffy and his friends. Let’s take a look at 2013 IRS Form 990, filed as the Montana Family Institute (MFI).  The institute raised $445,119 and spent $465,492, for a loss of $20,373. Executive compensation was $97,672 and other staff wages came to $125,188, for a total of $222,860 or about 48 percent of all expenditures.

MFI also has Form 990 for 2014 and 2015 on record but the returns, running 38 pages each, and are a bit more difficult for me to decipher. The abbreviated forms, as they appear on the website Nonprofit Explorer, have no executive or staff wages or salaries. But under compensation for all officers, directors, trustees (etc.) in Part VII of the IRS PDF, it shows Laszloffy getting $147,341 in 2015 from “reportable compensation from related organizations (W-2/1099-MISC).” I couldn’t find that W-2/1099 anywhere in the document, so I don’t now where that money came from. Nice chunk of change, though. And Laszloffy’s take in 2014 was $131,352.

I’m not an accountant, just ask my wife after I’ve butchered our taxes. I’d welcome any insight into the above documents. It seems there’s pretty decent compensation for advancing a platform of discrimination, though.

If the Montana Family Foundation is really about families, it would be fighting for access to affordable health care and against poverty, or maybe better funding for education or foster care. There’s obviously more, easy money in spreading fear and bigotry.


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About the author

Pete Talbot

'Papa’ Pete Talbot is first and foremost a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren. Like many Montanans, he has held numerous jobs over the years: film and video producer, a partner in a marketing and advertising firm, a builder and a property manager. He’s served on local and statewide Democratic Party boards. Pete has also been blogging at various sites for over a decade. Ping-pong and skiing are his favorite diversions. He enjoys bourbon.


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  • I suppose, Bill, if it actually gets enough signatures to put it on the ballot. I’m sure there are no more pressing issues we should attend to, and we have to keep the money flowing into the Laszloffy bank account.

  • Hey Pete, great piece and very interesting deep dive. Have you asked any of the folks at Forward Montana or the Montana Human Rights Network to help you decipher the non-profit tax filings? I bet we could figure it out with the help of a good non-profit accountant. Sounds pretty important as this needs to be watched carefully in the courts.

  • I really hate to post this kind of news but we must face the reality.

    A transgender Wyoming woman was convicted Thursday of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl inside a bathroom.
    Michelle Martinez, who was known as Miguel Martinez before identifying as female, was found guilty of first-degree and second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and could face up to 70 years in prison.
    The Billings Gazette reports Martinez, who is a family friend, invited the girl into the bathroom on March 23, and touched her breasts and genitalia before penetrating her. The girl told her mother immediately after the assault, who then reported it to Casper Police.
    It is unknown whether the attack happened in a private or public bathroom. 
    After the attack, the girl told police “it hurt inside,” according to the Casper Star Tribune. 
    Nurses at the Wyoming Medical Center performed a sexual assault exam on the minor and found redness and abrasions around the girl’s genitalia. 
    When police initially questioned Martinez about the assault, she became “noticeably hostile and defensive” and said the girl was “talking crap” before denying being a child molester. Martinez also called the accusations a “publicity stunt,” the Tribune reported.
    Martinez pleaded not guilty on both counts. 

    • Bill, do you not see the difference between what transpired in this case and the initiative MFF would like to put on the ballot? A friend of the family molests a young girl — an all too frequent occurrence these days. That the person claims transgender status is unfortunate but perverts come in all stripes. It certainly happens in the so-called “straight” community. With their track record, maybe Catholic priests should be barred from locker rooms and public restrooms?

      If the MFF initiative were designed to keep relatives and family friends from molesting kids, I’d be all for it. That, obviously, is not what the MFF is trying to accomplish.

  • See you after the vote.

    Privacy Act Goes Forward!
    September 20, 2017
    The Montana Family Foundation celebrated a major victory in court today for Ballot Initiative 183, the Montana Locker Room Privacy Act. The ACLU of Montana asked the Montana Supreme Court to rule that the Locker Room Privacy Act couldn’t be on the ballot, it refused. The ACLU asked the Court to rule that signatures already gathered be thrown out, again it refused. In the end, the Court only required minor changes to the ballot statement.
    “This is a big win,” said Jeff Laszloffy, President/CEO of the Montana Family Foundation and sponsor of the Locker Room Privacy Act. “Our initiative can still move forward, and Montanans who have already signed the petitions won’t have their voices ignored.”
    The Montana Locker Room Privacy Act requires that schools and other government buildings keep locker rooms for women, locker rooms for men, and keep each private from the opposite sex. It also encourages compassionate accommodations like single stall changing facilities for people who might need them.
    Laszloffy pointed out that not only did the Court rule against the ACLU on two of its three requests – the more important two – but it also declined to adopt the ACLU’s proposed ballot statement language and rejected the argument that the initiative didn’t protect privacy.
    “The Locker Room Privacy Act goes forward,” said Laszloffy. “Which is good, because high school girls should not have to shower in front of a boy, even if he thinks he’s a girl. It’s just common sense.”
    He concluded, “The Montana Locker Room Privacy Act is about protecting the privacy, safety, and dignity of all Montanans when we’re in a place where we have to be undressed. I’m delighted the court is letting it go forward.”

  • Geez, another lawsuit, does the ACLU have too much money?

    Rate noted that in an earlier case challenging the constitutionality of a ballot measure, former Montana Supreme Court Justice Jim Nelson wrote that placing a facially invalid measure on the ballot would be a waste of time and money for all involved.
    The high court ruled last month that the ballot language approved for the initiative needed to be re-written because it did not include the initiative’s definition of sex and was otherwise vague

    • You’re the best, Bill. You keep making my points for me. First you copy the ridiculous Montana Family Foundation spin on the MT Supreme Court ruling (verbatim and without a link) and then you take the ACLU to task for defending the Constitution by citing why the Court ruled against the MFF initiative’s wording in the first place. Keep up the good work.

  • “In the end, the Court only required minor changes to the ballot statement”…..the ACLU must like throwing money away and/or their attorneys are just trying to substantiate their existence.

    • Hey Bill, go to the URL at the top of your computer screen. Run your curser over the URL to highlight it. Then hit “copy,” which can be found on your tool bar. Go to the comment you just typed and hit “paste.” Thanks.

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