Yesterday, the campaign for Montana Attorney General Tim Fox accused Greg Gianforte, our current US House Representative and his rival for the GOP nomination for governor, of financing his campaign by insider trading capitalizing on COVID-19.
In an e-mail from campaign manager Jack Cutter, the Fox campaign laid into Gianforte:
It’s an incredible claim, no doubt based on the research that shows Gianforte, rather than putting his investments into a blind trust as promised, has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past three months in companies hoping to profit from COVID-19, including the French manufacturer of Hydroxychloroquine.
I’m not sure—and never suggested—that Gianforte is engaging in insider trading, which makes the Fox campaign claim all the more explosive. Do they have additional evidence that Gianforte has broken the law? Are they exaggerating his sins (which include greed and dishonesty, to be precise) for political effect? Is this just the last desperate swing of a campaign that has failed to convince Montana Republicans that Fox is conservative enough to win their favor?
Whatever the reason for the Fox attack, it’s the kind of story that deserves coverage in the press. Maybe it’s not as crucial as a poster for a rock concert, the type of story that required three days of news stories and editorials across the state, but it’s incomprehensible to me that it’s not of news value that the sitting Republican Attorney General just accused the sitting Republican Congressional representative of breaking the law and of profiteering off a global crisis that has killed 16,000 Americans in only a few weeks.
I certainly hope that the media in Montana plan to cover Congressman Gianforte with a critical eye during this campaign. This story, the issue of the blind trust itself, his flip-flop to accept PAC money, and his support for a massive, 30% tax cut that will bankrupt vital services across the state, just to name a few, deserve scrutiny from someone other than Attorney General Fox and a partisan blogger.
Some of you may ask why I write so much about Greg Gianforte. Isn’t the real question why does the press write so little?
Candidates, especially self-funded ones like Greg Gianforte, deserve the scrutiny of the press. Otherwise, the lesson will become this: all one needs to run for office in Montana is enough money to carpet bomb the state with advertisements, and the people will vote with an incomplete and inaccurate understanding of the people who lead us. Do we really want elections to be one because one candidate can pay for more lies and is more willing to them?
That’s the future I fear.
Ballots go out in this race in less than a month, plenty of time for the Montana media to dig into these claims against Congressman Gianforte and let us know the full measure of the man who seems to believe he deserves to be governor.