Bullock Leads From Behind; Flip-Flops on Colstrip

Governor Bullock is once again reacting to the leadership shown by Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte, who has repeatedly called on Bullock to defend Montana jobs and Colstrip. Bullock has now reversed course and asked Washington Governor Jay Inslee to VETO a bill aimed at shutting down Colstrip and resulting in the loss of 700 high-paying Montana jobs.

For weeks, Greg Gianforte has asked Bullock to fight back against Inslee’s Colstrip Shutdown bill, only to be told: Bullock isn’t likely to ask Inslee to veto the measure.

Yesterday, Bullock caved and asked Inslee to VETO the bill: “I still asked Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to veto it because I think we can do better.”

Wow–That’s quite the flip-flop, and there’s nothing like waiting until the last minute to change your mind with the bill’s April 2nd deadline right around the corner.

But, this isn’t the first time Bullock’s failed leadership has been on display when it comes to fighting for Colstrip and Montana jobs. He never had the courage to try and stop a similar bill in Oregon that also puts the future of Colstrip at risk.

The Colstrip community and Montana workers deserve leadership on this issue– not watch Bullock scramble as he leads from behind.

Earlier this week, Bullock also raised eyebrows when he snubbed Montana’s energy community after agreeing to speak at the 2016 Montana Energy Summit. His no-show isn’t the signal you want to send to this community dedicated to developing Montana energy and creating thousands of Montana jobs.

Bullock was probably uncomfortable attending a meeting that would upset his fringe environmental allies, who he is heavily dependent on for their money and support (or, maybe there was just no campaign fundraiser to piggyback onto the trip).

Montana faces threats from Obama’s job-killing energy agenda to efforts by Washington and Oregon to shut down Colstrip, and the last thing Montanans want is an inept Governor who repeatedly lacks the leadership and inability to fight for Montana jobs. Montanans deserve a Republican Governor who they can always count on to defend their jobs and fight for their livelihoods.

Billings Gazette Rips Bullock for Abusing Tax Dollars

The Billings Gazette took to their editorial board today to rip Bullock for campaigning on the taxpayers’ dime scheduling “questionable” and “weak” official state business trips to mask his true intentions of flying on the State plane to raise campaign money. They also note that more than a month has gone by and Bullock refuses to fulfill information requests made by the media about his State plane travels and emails related to his fundraisers. Bullock’s stonewalling the media by refusing to provide transparency about his taxpayer funded campaign trips. Bullock really does believe he’s above the law and accountable to no one– even the people he was elected to represent.

The Billings Gazette raised a number of important questions that Montanans deserve to have answered:

  1. Will Bullock stop abusing taxpayer dollars and pay for his campaign travels like other Montana governors have done in the past?
  2. The State plane cost $1,650/hour so why can’t Bullock make the drive from Helena to Bozeman, Butte, and Missoula and save taxpayers money?
  3. Does Bullock plan to ever honor the media’s information requests about his plane travels and emails related to his campaign fundraising trips?

Excerpts from the Billings Gazette–

Gazette opinion: Plane-gate may mean more rules necessary

Last week, Gazette reporter Tom Lutey reported a series of questionable trips taken by Bullock around the state which conveniently had fundraising stops attached.

Questionable because the official business — besides the fundraising — seemed rather weak, especially at $1,650 per hour of airplane cost at taxpayer expense.

It seems to us Bullock’s trips across the state that seem to magically coincide with fund-raising events aren’t just accidental. And, it makes sense from a time and resource perspective to pair those events. However, it raises the question: Should the taxpayers of Montana be on the hook to foot Bullock’s expense as he tries to raise more money? Why should he get a free ride when his opponents don’t get the same opportunity? And, just saying that Bullock is doing what others before him have done is a lousy excuse that we shouldn’t tolerate. Because someone else did the wrong thing shouldn’t excuse it forever into the future.

Other governors in Montana have paid for part of their trips when a fundraising event was scheduled out of their campaign. Marc Racicot paid for part of the costs when he would “piggyback” fundraising events onto official business. When the trip was completely for fundraising, Racicot took a private plane.

Just as questionable as running around in the state plane for fundraising is Bullock’s need to fire it up to go from Helena to Butte. We imagine that there’s hardly a time savings for such a short trip (less than 70 miles), by the time you figure out shuttling to the airport and getting ready to fly.

Both of these cases seem to have a common theme: Taking advantage of a taxpayer resource. 

Yet, examples like flying from Helena to Butte have us rethinking the position. Is Bullock — or any governor — so important that he or she can’t spare the extra time to drive between those two communities?

Life in Montana means roads and roads mean driving. We’re not sure why the governor doesn’t have the same sensibility, especially for short distances.

And if he is using the state plane for fundraising, why not reimburse Montana for the expense? It saves on the charade of trying to explain why making sandwiches is essential state business.

The Gazette began asking for the governor’s travel itinerary and emails related to this trip more than a month ago. We’d point out that a simple calendar request should not take this long. 

We’re not certain what is so cumbersome about releasing Bullock’s schedules or his email.

It only gives the appearance that Bullock has something to hide, or that it looks exactly like he’s taking advantage of a taxpayer resource.

Hillary: Destroy Coal Jobs, Looks to Bullock’s Record

When Hillary Clinton said, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” in a CNN town hall in Ohio last night, she should look to the work Governor Bullock has done to shut down our coal industry and put thousands of Montanans out of work.

Bullock’s standing by while Washington and Oregon pass legislation that will cripple Colstrip.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is about to sign legislation into law that pushes Colstrip closer to shutting down by paving the way to phase out all coal-generated electricity from Montana.

By the way, Bullock actually invited Inslee to raise dark money with him this weekend in Big Sky.

Montanans deserve to know if Bullock will ask Inslee to VETO this bill aimed at shutting down Colstrip.

Honestly, that’s expecting too much given …

Bullock didn’t lift a finger when the Governor of Oregon recently signed into law legislation that will eradicate coal from its power supply.”

Colstrip will be completely cut off from supplying both Washington and Oregon with an affordable and reliable energy resource- and this threatens its entire operation.

Bullock also bears responsibility for shutting down Otter Creek. His administration refused to issue permits that would have created 4,400 Montana job and generated nearly $100 million in tax revenue for vital infrastructure and school projects in our local communities. In fact, while serving as Attorney General as a member of the Land Board, Bullock voted against Otter Creek.

Remember when Bullock said Obama’s job-killing energy regulations wouldn’t shut down the Corette power plant? Well, Obama’s job-killing energy regulations did exactly that– Corette has been demolished, and with it 35 Montana jobs were eliminated.

This year alone, Montana lost nearly 200 jobs at our coal mines, railroad companies, and on the Crow Reservation because of Bullock’s job-killing energy agenda.

Bullock’s anti-coal, job-killing record could serve as a blueprint for Hillary’s War on Coal, and might even make him a strong contender to be her running mate.

ICYMI: Bullock Campaigning on the Taxpayers’ Dime

The Billings Gazette exposed Governor Bullock for campaigning on the taxpayers’ dime, using the State plane to attend fundraisers for his re-election campaign.

Bullock justifies these taxpayer funded trips as attending to official state business but in reality the main priority is to raise money for his campaign– and he’s doing so at a cost of $1,650/hour.

It’s astonishing to think that Bullock’s charging Montanans at a rate of $1,650/hour to fly on the State plane when he could be making the drive from Helena to Butte, Bozeman, and Missoula, and having his campaign pick up the tab– not the Montana taxpayers.

Bullock should also stop stonewalling media reporters who have requested information on his taxpayer funded campaign flights. Bullock behaves as if he’s above the law but it is illegal to use a taxpayer funded plane for campaign purposes, and he should immediately reimburse Montanans and halt his illegal campaign activity.

P.S. – Montanans deserve to know if Governor Bullock’s flying to Big Sky this weekend on the taxpayers’ dime for his dark money fundraiser with job-killer, anti-coal crusader WA Governor Inslee.

Billings Gazette: Bullock criticized for piggybacking campaign stops onto official business flights

Campaigning on the Taxpayers’ Dime

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is being criticized for piggybacking campaign events onto government business trips in his state airplane.

At issue are a handful of campaign fundraisers branded as “Women for Bullock” events that capped business flights to Montana communities during the past month.

Criticism of the flights surfaced on social media after it was mentioned in a Feb. 10 Associated Press report that Bullock, a Democrat, was unavailable for comment because he was in Billings making peanut butter sandwiches for the homeless and attending a campaign fundraiser. Bullock had flown to Billings for those events, plus a TV interview and a meeting with a union official. Similar business trips capped by campaign fundraisers also took place in Bozeman and Missoula.

Bullock Won’t Make the 115 Mile Drive to Missoula

On Wednesday, the criticism bubbled up on The Missoulian opinion page, where Rep. Brad Tschida, R-Missoula, accused Bullock of “holding campaign events at taxpayer expense.” Tschida said the cost of the Missoula trip was roughly $1,000. By car, Helena and Missoula are about 115 miles apart.

State Plane Cost $1,650/Hour

Rep. Ryan Osmundson, chairman of the subcommittee, said his interest was piqued by Bullock’s use of the plane to fly from Helena to Butte. The two communities are 67 miles apart by car. The governor’s plane costs about $1,650 an hour to operate, Osmundson said.

Bullock Stonewalls Media

On Feb. 17, The Gazette filed requests under the state’s public information laws concerning Bullock’s Feb. 10 flight to Billings. The request was for all written and recorded conversations between Gov. Bullock and/or his staff with representatives of School District 2 and the Billings Golden K Kiwanis regarding the governor’s Feb. 10, 2016, appearance at Riverside School in Billings. The public documents request was a first step in attempting to determine whether the official trip was planned before the campaign fundraiser.

The Gazette also requested information about who was on the plane for the Feb. 10 flight. The Gazette also requested information about the governor’s Feb. 16 trip to Missoula. Also, The Gazette requested the governor’s schedule, which is not available to the public without a request.

Those requests have not yet been fulfilled.

Bullock Shows True Colors, Hosts Anti-Coal Dark Money Fundraiser

Governor Bullock will host a dark money fundraiser in Big Sky this weekend with special guest Washington Governor Jay Inslee, a man hell-bent on phasing out his state’s access to Montana’s affordable coal-generated electricity and who is actively working to shut down Colstrip.

In fact, a bill sits on the Washington Gov.’s desk awaiting his signaturewhich he is on record supporting– that will end his state’s use of all coal-generated electricity from Colstrip. With Colstrip being a major supplier of affordable electricity to 1.5 million Washington customers, this bill will move Colstrip one step closer to shuttering its doors.

Bullock’s prioritizing campaign money over Montana workers by fundraising with Governor Inslee. Bullock’s association with Inslee proves he would rather take money from this anti-coal crusader then defend and fight for our workers. Montanans can’t trust Bullock to protect their jobs when he’s raising money from this job-killing, anti-coal Governor.

Bullock and Inslee’s War On Coal will devastate Montana: 7,000 workers will be out of a job, our economy will take a $1.5 billion hit, and hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue will be eliminated– this is critical money that funds infrastructure and school projects for our local communities and Tribal Nations.

It’s no coincidence Bullock teamed-up with the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) to host this dark money fundraiser– this is the same group he worked at for the last 2 years raising and spending millions in dark money to influence elections.

Bullock’s showing his true colors with his anti-coal, dark money fundraiser. All Montana workers should be asking themselves how they can count on Bullock to defend their jobs when he’s raising enormous sums of money with a Governor who wants to end the use of coal, kill our jobs, and wreak havoc on our economy.

P.S. – You too can join Governor Bullock this weekend in Big Sky if you are willing to pay $250,000 to become a Founder’s Circle member or if you can’t afford that, you can pay $100,000 to be a Chairman’s Board member. Your donations to Bullock will remain anonymous– Montanans will never know the source or amount of dark money you contributed to Bullock’s re-election campaign.

ICYMI: Obama’s War on Coal threatens Montana jobs & communities

ICYMI: Obama’s War on Coal Threatens Montana Jobs & Communities

A recent video posted by the Great Falls Tribune brings to light the real consequences of Obama’s War on Coal. The most recent attempt by the administration to shut down the coal industry by implementing the so-called “Clean Power Plan” would result in the loss of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue to the state, not to mention the economic devastation that the implementation of these rules would mean for communities like Colstrip, that depend on the good paying jobs that coal provides.

Click here to watch the video.

Poor Bullock–Upset He Can’t Address Climate Change

When the Supreme Court temporarily blocked implementation of Obama’s job-killing energy regulations earlier this week, it appeared there was no one more disappointed about this decision than Governor Bullock.

Why? Well, Bullock is so desperate to “address” climate change he saw implementing Obama’s job-killing energy regulations as his golden ticket to do exactly that.

What we cannot put on hold, however, is the need to address climate change,” Bullock declared following the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Let’s get this straight: Thousands of Montana jobs are at stake– Montana jobs Bullock won’t defend– and all Bullock can think about is the need to address climate change.

Get this– Bullock could implement Obama’s job-killing energy regulations or the U.S. could even shut down every single coal plant in the nation– and global carbon emissions would only be reduced by less than 1 percent.

In fact, even Obama’s former EPA Administrator admitted that U.S. action will not impact worldwide carbon emissions.

Bullock’s climate change solution is to eliminate over 7,000 Montana jobs and blow a $1.5 billion hole into our economyand yet we will see LITTLE TO NO REDUCTION in global carbon emissions.

Under Bullock’s leadership, the Corette power plant in Billings shut down and with it 35 Montana jobs were lost. Earlier this year, nearly 200 Montana workers had their jobs eliminated because of this job-killing energy agenda: Signal Peak Energy was forced to cut 66 jobs at their coal mine, 19 jobs were eliminated at railroad companies, and the Crow Tribe was forced to furlough 100 of their employees. And, permitting delays are holding back job creation at the Otter Creek mine.

Across the nation over 40,000 jobs have been lost since Obama took office and declared a War on Coal. The very livelihoods of these workers have been destroyed because of this extreme environmental agenda.

This is the vision shared by Bullock and the Democrat Party. It’s beyond delusional that they are willing to sacrifice thousands of good-paying Montana jobs and an affordable, reliable energy source for this extreme environmental agenda.

Bullock’s job-killing energy agenda won’t even address climate change but it will put thousands of Montanans out of work– and how will they provide for their families without a job? No Montanan should have to live under this threat from Bullock and Obama’s extreme environmental agenda. At the end of the day, Montana workers can’t count on Bullock to stand up and defend their good-paying jobs. Too much is at stake to put the livelihoods of our workers and families in the hands of Bullock this November.

Chairman Essmann Statement on Elsie Arntzen Run for OPI

Helena, MT – Chairman Jeff Essmann of the MTGOP released the following statement today on Senator Elsie Arntzen’s decision to file for State Superintendent:

“Elsie is an incredibly strong candidate and I’m thrilled that she is running for Superintendent of Public Instruction. She has spent over 23 years working as a teacher and is committed to making sure our kids have the best possible education. Montanans will have a voice in Elsie to make sure parents and our local communities are in charge of our kids’ education– not bureaucrats in Washington D.C.”

“Elsie’s conservative values and her promise to bring Montana-made solutions to our education needs make her a strong advocate for our parents and kids.”

“Montanans can’t trust their kids’ education with Melissa Romano who has basked in the praise of President Obama and Common Core. Melissa is someone who believes Washington D.C. bureaucrats know what’s best for our kids. I’m glad we have Elsie in this race because she is someone all Montanans can trust and who will always fight to put Montana students and parents first– not the federal government.”


Chairman Essmann Statement on Supreme Court Ruling Blocking Obama’s Job-Killing Energy Regulations

Helena, MT –  Chairman Jeff Essmann of the Montana Republican Party today released the following statement on the Supreme Court’s decision to block implementation of President Obama and the EPA’s Costly Power Plan until the litigation is resolved in court:

“Attorney General Tim Fox achieved a critical victory today against President Obama’s War on Coal with the Supreme Court deciding to halt implementation of the Costly Power Plan until the legal battle is resolved. I thank Tim for taking the fight to Obama and the EPA and for defending the thousands of good-paying Montana jobs that will be lost if these job-killing energy regulations aren’t stopped dead in their tracks. I’m glad we have a leader like Tim on our side working to end this threat.”

“The Supreme Court’s stay stops Obama’s vast overreach and highlights the need for a Republican Governor who will not hesitate to fight for these Montana jobs– not find ways to comply with Obama’s job-killing energy regulations. We need a Republican Governor who will stand with Montana workers and their families– not with Obama and the EPA.”


Chairman Essmann Statement on Matt Rosendale’s Run for State Auditor

Helena, MT – Chairman of the Montana Republican Party Jeff Essmann released the following statement today on Senate Majority Leader Matt Rosendale’s decision to run for State Auditor:

“I’m really excited and proud of Matt for deciding to run for State Auditor. He’s a trusted and true conservative and is a strong candidate for this office. While Jesse Laslovich has lobbied to impose Obamacare on Montana families, Matt can be counted on to put the interests of Montana families first and is committed to bettering their lives. Matt is someone Montanans can always count on to be on their side.”

“Matt will continue to lead the fight against Obamacare in the State Auditor’s office and he will bring accountability to this office. Obamacare has greatly harmed our families by forcing ever increasing health care premiums on them– despite promises from both Obama and Jesse that premiums would be reduced.  Matt will work to open up our health insurance market and will be a voice for all Montanans as he fights against government-run health care and works towards health care solutions. You look at Jesse’s time in government and he epitomizes the definition of a career politician. It’s clear that Jesse is committed to being part of the bureaucracy.”

Matt is a family man, rancher, real-estate developer, and serves as Majority Leader in the Montana Senate representing SD-18 from Glendive.