Over the last decade, extremists have infiltrated Montana’s political scene, and much of their “ideology” is supplied verbatim from the conspiratorial ramblings of the John Birch Society. The John Birch Society is a cold war remnant that has been obsessed since its inception with obstructing the civil rights movement and protecting the uninformed from the threat of a “one world government.”
A rising star in the Montana extremist movement is Public Service Commissioner Randy Pinocci. Randy served one, mostly ignominious, term in the 2015 Montana legislature before losing his 2017 reelection bid and later winning his present seat on the PSC. His sole legislative stint was punctuated with scandal, and as one would expect from a John Birch acolyte, the introduction of senseless legislation.
Randy Pinocci’s first dance with scandal occurred when he was caught playing video games instead of working during a MT House floor session. It seems that he had forgotten to turn off the Facebook auto posts his game of choice use to notify the social media world that a particular gamer is active. Unbeknownst to Randy, his Facebook account was being monitored by an enterprising individual who captured screen shots of his transgressions – complete with time stamp showing that the game play did in fact occur while voting in a House floor session. In the face of this evidence, Randy has gone to extensive lengths to deny that the gaming ever occurred. Ask him about it yourself, and let the breadth of his lie entertain you!
Randy’s next transgression involves HB489 in the 2015 legislative session. In this bill, Randy attempted to pass legislation that would, by his own admission, pad his own wallet! In case you find this hard to believe, here is an excerpt from the committee hearing: Rep Casey Schriner: “One follow up, Mr. Chair. Mr. Chair, Representative Pinocci – I guess the question (for you), if this legislation were to pass, would you directly benefit from it?” Rep Randy Pinocci: “Well, I’m trying to put in a system that would cover my needs.” Again, ask Randy about this bill yourself. His time tested, exquisitely crafted prevarication should amuse you – even if it doesn’t convince you.
Now we learn that Randy has spent a good portion of his first year on the Montana PSC traveling the country to speak at “Red Pill” events. Red Pill Expos are nationally organized events that attract speakers from the distant reaches of the far right of the political spectrum. Their slogan for these events gravely hints at their importance, “Helping Truth Seekers understand how the world really works.”
The subjects covered at the latest Red Pill Expo attended by Randy centered on the anti-vaccine movement, the illusion of racism, ‘5G Internet: A Network of Death Towers’, the police state, and a headline appearance by a member of the family of far right grifters – Ammon Bundy. While it is not clear how these topics relate to Randy’s job as a Public Service Commissioner, he has attempted to draw a connection and alleviate our confusion by requesting that our state employee PSC staff investigate the health risks of moving to 5G. Somehow it seems just a little bit wasteful that the staff should shortchange an investigation of the recent Northwestern Energy purchase at Colstrip, and instead, apply their efforts chasing down a Pinocci backed science fiction conspiracy. But maybe that’s just me…
Randy’s penchant for lying and his attraction to conspiracies might be more amusing if we weren’t providing him with a six-figure tax payer funded government salary. But, alas, we are. Rather ironically, Randy might have summarized our predicament best when he recently lamented that the political process sometimes puts “knuckleheads” in office. Why yes, Randy, it certainly seems that way!