The Montana GOP which has long positioned itself as the party of law and order, has turned its back on law enforcement. From the top down, the party “leaders” neither condemn criminal activity, nor shy away from engaging in criminal activity themselves. What’s worse, these office holders act like common criminals by remaining righteously indignant about their crimes and violations of public trust.
Congressman Greg Gianforte denied his criminal assault of a reporter long before he pled guilty. Instead of respecting the limited law enforcement resources in Bozeman and owning up to his crime, Gianforte forced Gallatin County to expend law enforcement resources to put together a lock solid criminal case against him. His smug mug shot mirrors that of other criminals who express the same indignation when caught red-handed.
Secretary of State Cory Stapleton has pilfered from Montana taxpayers since he took office. Beyond his many political blunders he has taken every liberty possible to turn his state job into a personal money tree. The only reason prosecution of his offenses could not occur is the statute of limitations for his crimes had run by the time the State fully discovered his antics.
Perpetual candidate Troy Downing [now running for State Auditor] has the audacity to blame law enforcement for his crimes. His hunting violations [all 9 of them] are equivalent to a knife to the throat of Montana’s heritage, and yet he continues to blame those who protect the State’s wildlife resources for his actions. He does this, all the while entering a guilty plea to 2 of the charged offenses.
Flathead County Commissioner Phil Mitchell pled guilty to destroying public property owned by the very people he is supposed to serve, and who fund his paycheck.
Granite County Commissioner Scott Adler followed Mitchell’s playbook. Adler publicly admitted using county personnel and equipment to pave his driveway. As with Mitchell, he plead guilty to misdemeanor theft.
We all remember former Representative Art Wittich was found guilty of taking illegal corporate contributions during his primary election campaign. Despite the jury’s verdict, Wittich continues to protest his innocence.
Former State Senator Jason Priest white-knuckled his senate term to completion [while serving as chairman of the Senate Public Health, Welfare and Safety Committee] before finally pleading guilty to two counts of partner or family member assault and one each of assault and resisting arrest.
Criminal activity isn’t the only tie that binds these Republican politicians together. None resigned in shame and in respect for the seats they hold or held. None see violations of public trust as consequential to their personal aspirations in holding political office or representing Montana. None ensured, even in the face of overwhelming and irrefutable evidence, that they conserved Montana’s limited law enforcement resources by accepting responsibility early. Instead they forced multiple state agencies to devote time and energy into needless investigations and preparation for trial. Yet all espouse their “fiscal conservative” beliefs.
Knowing this, the Montana Republican Party leadership simply turns their respective heads, offers not even the hint of criticism for the activities, and chooses instead to criticize the Democrats for not having Montana values. Criminal justice reform used to be a Democrat talking point. It’s clear now the Montana Republican Party picked up criminal justice reform because it needs it to keep its own out of jail.
By walking away from law enforcement, the Montana GOP has sealed its fate as the party that accommodates criminal conduct. Makes one wonder: which family value does criminal conduct fall under?
What Can We Do About It?
Extremist Chronicles exists to shine a light on the zealotry and extremism sabotaging Montana from both the right and the left by making public the radical views and behaviors of those in elected positions. If you are deeply committed to Montana and have a story of extremism to share, please send it to ExtremistChronicles@gmail.com so that citizens all over our state can make more informed choices about our leaders. Thank you for joining us. Together we will build a better Montana.