Corey Stapleton Continues to Abuse His Office, Inspiring His Subordinate to do the Same

Photo from MT SoS web page

While I suppose we should take some meausre of comfort in the fact that Secretary Stapleton did not send a racist screed this time, we all should be quite concerned that he is continuing to abuse his state office as a vehicle (get it?) to support his floundering campaign for the U.S. House of Represenatives.

Over the weekend, Stapleton chose to send an e-mail praising his office to the businesses that have registered with the state. I don’t know whether Stapleton asked the person who submitted the letter if he could blast it across the state, but I am certain that, when I registered my small business with the state, no one asked me if I wanted to receive state-funded campaign material from Mr. Stapleton.

Stapleton just doesn’t seem to understand that his role as a government official is to be a public servant, not to put public dollars in the service of his flagging political ambitions.

In addition to almost endless displays of incompetence, during his time in office, he has:

It’s perhaps that last point that matters most now that Stapleton’s political career has likely ended. Stapleton has endorsed Christi Jacobsen, his “Assistant Secretary of State” to succeed him in office, but one has to wonder why someone with such an important position and close personal relationship has failed to act as a check on Stapleton’s misdeeds. Instead, Jacobsen has been a classic enabler, refusing to advise Stapleton to reform and even going so far as to defend his misdeeds when he was too afraid of the Legislature to speak for himself.

The e-mail Stapleton sent us this weekend says that he’s proud of “his team,” and while I have no doubt that the career state workers who have endured the climate of bullying and malfeasance at the SoS office are excellent at their jobs, the coach Stapleton has placed in charge–and now wants to promote–has helped create the corrupt, self-agrandizing culture that Stapleton has brought to the office that oversees our elections and businesses.

Last week, Jacobsen actually told a talk radio station that she’s “very honored” to have received Stapleton’s endorsement for her 2020 bid. If she really want to feel honor–and restore it to the Secretary’s office–she needs to publicly denounce the abuses Stapleton continues to commit and put an end to them.

Stapleton’s tenure at the Secretary’s office is a stain on its legacy. Mrs. Jacobsen has a clear choice: she can continue to enable Stapleton’s partisan abuses or she can stand for the independence and fairness the office must maintain.

We’ll be waiting for the next e-mail to see what she has decided.

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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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