The Perks of Privilege Keep Combat Veteran Troy Downing From Facing Justice Before the Election

Voters in Montana have been treated to a steady of stream of proclamations from Troy Downing touting his qualifications for the U.S. Senate largely centered around his military service. Downing has used the phrase “combat veteran” more times than Ryan Zinke mentions that he was a Navy SEAL, part of constructing a narrative about just how tough he’ll be when he’s elected to the Senate.

That toughness, though, seems to extend only so far. Downing was granted a delay in his hearing on charges related to illegally taking game as a non-resident because, in the words of his motion, “it will be a hardship for Mr. Downing to prepare for both the trial and the election in this time frame.”

According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, neither prosecutors nor the Gallatin County Justice of the Peace objected, meaning that Downing, whose only occupation seems to be working illegally as a registered agent for a California vineyard, was able to use his position of privilege and wealth to delay a hearing. As someone with a full-time job and a side gig or two, I can understand how someone might need a hearing to be delayed, but those aren’t the people who get extensions; it’s apparently retirees running vanity campaigns for public office and tech millionaires who assault reporters who get every benefit of the doubt from the legal system, especially in Gallatin County.

The delay in the hearing, does, in fact, represent a hardship, but not for Mr. Downing. It’s a hardship for Montana voters, who should probably know if a Senate candidate has broken the law and lied about his residency. It’s a hardship for the hardworking people at FWP,  baselessly slurred by Mr. Downing once he was charged with for these violations.

Republicans just love talking about personal responsibility, but from our perjuring State Auditor to our punching Representative, from our conspiring President to our poaching poseur from California, none of them seem terribly interested in applying the philosophy to themselves. It’s always someone else’s fault when they break the law and when they get caught.

It’s time to face the music, Troy. In fact, let’s make it a trumpet.

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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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