It seems that after the special election the scrutiny of Greg Gianforte has diminished as everyone spent time recuperating from the wear and tear of the all-out brawl that happened across Montana, on the airwaves and to the reporter that Greg Gianforte assaulted, Ben Jacobs.
I took a look through Greg Gianforte’s campaign finance report and found several interesting pieces of incriminating evidence. One of them is seemingly innocuous, but still rather eye-catching. Ryan Zinke donated his email list to Greg Gianforte. This was considered an in-kind donation as it was for a good or service rather than a monetary donation.
The Federal Election Commission requires that in-kind donations be reported at fair market value. As explained on the Federal Election Commission website HERE
The FEC uses “fair market value” for in-kind donations. In my work with non-profits and campaigns I have heard several numbers as to the value of emails. Depending on how they are used the general number is 1 to 3 dollars an email.
I would guess that Zinke had at least 20,000 emails acquired through his state senate race and two congressional runs if not upwards of 50,000 or 100,000. Even with a $1 valuation of each email, and a 20,000 email list he would have exceeded the maximum donation of $2700 by $17,300 or more.
This self-serving accounting of valuation is not proper accounting and does not represent fair market value.
Ryan Zinke’s email list is of Montana voters and Montana donors as well as all his California donors. It is highly valuable under any metric and saying that it is worth just $2700 is a joke.
Ryan Zinke helped Greg Gianforte win through the fundraising and outreach that Gianforte was able to achieve with the list.
This dirty deal is just one more time that Zinke was able to fly under the radar and get away with illegal activities.