Montanans expect honesty from their elected officials. That means that we should know who is financing our candidates so we know to whom they’re beholden. But Greg Gianforte doesn’t believe we have a right to know.
In fact, Greg Gianforte has funded dark money groups in Montana that opposed the bipartisan DISCLOSE Act that would shed light on dark money in Montana. The past few months, he essentially campaigned across the state without letting Montanans know if he’s running for office or who is funding his “whistle-stop tour.”
- FUNDED GROUPS THAT LED OPPOSITION TO MONTANA’S DISCLOSE ACT. Since 2008, Gianforte has given $518,357 to the Montana Family Foundation and $26,000 to the Montana Policy Institute that led the opposition against the Disclose Act that would require the reporting for dark money spent to influence Montana elections. According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, “Shortly before testifying against the bill, Jeff Laszloffy, president of the Montana Family Foundation, published a letter that said if the bill ‘were to become law, Montana houses of worship would be at risk of having to publicize every single tithe they receive…Rep. Jeff Welborn, R-Dilon, asked Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl if that was true. Motl said no.” (Gianforte Family Charitable Trust, GuideStar, accessed 5/02/15; Bozeman Daily Chronicle, 3/17/15; Missoulian, 3/17/15)
- CONNECTED TO DARK MONEY GROUP–AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY. In 2013, Gianforte contributed to and received awards from the Koch brothers’ dark money group, Americans for Prosperity. (Gianforte Family Charitable Trust 2013 IRS 990 via Guidestar.org; Bozeman Daily Chronicle, 8/01/12; Flathead Beacon, 2/25/15)
- CALLED OUT FOR BEING DISHONEST WITH MONTANANS. In April 2015, Gianforte started touring and essentially “campaigning” across the state while not being honest about whether he’s running for Governor or disclosing who is funding his 30-city, whistle-stop tour. (Missoulian, 6/17/15)
- MT COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC PRACTICES SAID GIANFORTE SHOULD DISCLOSE EXPENDITURES. According to the Standard, “Asked if he would be reporting the expenditures as campaign expense, Gianforte replied bluntly, ‘I’m not a candidate.’ Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl said Thursday that if Gianforte does end up running, the question of whether he should report the tour’s expenses ‘is a nuanced one.’ ‘Anybody running for office is well-served if they take the highest road they can,’ Motl said. ‘I would think that it would seem to be in the public interest — and Gianforte’s — right out of the box, to report, disclose, make the information available to the public, whether it’s required by law or not.’” (Montana Standard, 6/7/15)