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2020 Governor Featured Greg Gianforte Montana Politics

Greg Gianforte Breaks 2016 Pledge, Signals He’ll Sell the Governor’s Office to Special Interests

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

By his own words, Greg Gianforte has announced to the people of Montana that he intends to sell his office to special interest PACs if elected governor in 2020.

Back in 2016, before he had assaulted a reporter and before he broke his promise not to take PAC money for his Congressional campaigns, Gianforte told the people of Montana that candidates who take PAC money cannot be trusted to put the interests of the people of Montana ahead of the interests of special interest political action committees.

After a theatrical visit to the Governor’s Office, Gianforte said that he would “tear up” any checks from special interest PACs to his campaign. In an interview with Montana Public Radio, Gianforte went farther, arguing that his personal wealth and his refusal to take PAC money meant that he, unlike other politicians, could not be bought:

“I don’t think Montanans can be bought,” says Republican gubernatorial candidate Gianforte. “The reality is, everybody gets to make their own decision and I said in the beginning that I would be committed to this race.”Gianforte says his personally financed campaign allows him to not be influenced by special interests because he doesn’t accept money from political action committees, or PACs.

Let’s put aside the fact that Gianforte spent over $5 million of his own money to try to win the governor’s chair that year. Let’s even put aside the fact that he was caught on tape begging D.C. fat cats to fund his special election campaign against Rob Quist. Let’s further ignore that he started taking PAC money in his second run for Congress.

Let’s take Greg Gianforte of 2016 at his word, that he believes candidates who accept PAC money are corrupt and won’t truly work for Montanans.

Then he certainly needs to explain this, from his latest campaign finance report:

In his bid to become Governor of Montana is taking money from an array of PACS, including those in the cable and health care industries, PACS that are focused on Congressional policy, and even those of fellow members of Congress. He’s taking money from PACs that raise money for Insurance, Securities, and the oil and gas industry.

The candidate who decried PAC money just four years ago seems to be double dipping on corruption here, taking money from PACs representing industries he would oversee as governor and taking money for his gubernatorial campaign from groups and candidates interested in shaping federal policy while he is still a member of Congress.

In the words of the President his offers his sycophantic support to, Gianforte has become part of the swamp of corruption and influence-buying he decried just four years ago.

There are so many reasons why the people of Montana cannot afford to elect Greg Gianforte, but perhaps the most fundamental is that he simply cannot be trusted. He lied about his violent, unprovoked attack on a reporter. He lied about how the Trump tax scam would enrich him. He lied (and continues to lie) about his willingness to meet with Montanans on the campaign trail. He lied about his decision to block public access to a stream we, the people of Montana, owned.

And he lies about how campaigns should be funded. By his own words, he’s selling himself to special interests in another ego-driven bid to take over the Governor’s office.

Montana deserves better. Maybe New Jersey is about the swamp, but we’re about the truth out here, something Gianforte seems not to have learned.

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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