In light of Secretary of State Corey Stapleton’s refusal this week to take responsibility for the mismanagement of his office that cost the people of Montana over $320,000 while enriching a personal friend and political ally, we’re taking another dive into Stapleton’s penchant for spending state resources on questionable purchases.
Some of the purchases are typical Stapleton largesse with other people’s money-a $3,800 stay at a five-star Loews Hotel, $430 at Cabelas.com, thousands of dollars for pizza and coffee, and $130 for chocolates at the Parrot, one of the most frustrating (if unintentionally accurate) expenditures listed on the state checkbook has to be the decision to pay a California company called Fool’s Errand Films thousands of dollars to produce self-promoting videos, including this one that, as we have reported before, encouraged Montana voters to invalidate their mall ballots by signing them.
After threatening the Montana Post with legal action, Stapleton pulled the video from YouTube, meaning the thousands of dollars spent on its production were wasted.
In the vast list of wasteful expenditures Stapleton has overseen during his short time as Secretary of State, it’s probably fair to say that $6,000-$7,000 for some self-promotional videos are not his greatest sin, but they are perhaps as emblematic of Stapleton’s belief that his office exists to increase his tiny chances of being elected governor as any of the rest.
It’s not surprising that the man whose office failed to spend federal resources to improve Montana’s elections in a timely fashion and who used his office to enrich friends would ask Montanans to pay for his vanity and ambition, but it’s time that Stapleton finally starts to understand that we’re watching him–and his use of the state checkbook–carefully.
And next week we’ll share more of what we’ve found.