FACT CHECK: Bullock Misleads Montanans Over Departure of Former Lt. Gov. McLean

On December 15, 2015, Posted by , In News,Press Releases, By , , With No Comments

Governor Bullock is having a hard time telling Montanans the truth about Lt. Gov. Angela McLean’s sudden departure. Bullock said he never talked about McLean leaving the ticket when recent emails reveal that they did discuss her place on the ticket. Bullock also claimed he was surprised by McLean’s departure but is now changing his story. Bullock is having a hard-time keeping his story straight. His actions highlight a pattern of hiding the truth from Montanans.

Why won’t Bullock tell Montanans the truth? What started the dispute between the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor almost a year ago?

The Billings Gazette in a brutal editorial this morning asked: “What’s really going on in Montana governor’s office?” They note the complete lack of trust and transparency from Governor Bullock over the series of events that led to the resignation of his former Lt. Gov. The Billings Gazette stated that Bullock’s failure to be forthcoming with Montanans “suggest there’s plenty of rumors, speculation and discord. In other words, where there’s smoke, there’s almost always fire.

The Billings Gazette asked the important questions that Montanans deserve to know from Governor Bullock: “How can we trust the Bullock administration to appoint good leaders, and how can we have faith that the answers given aren’t just spin?”

They concluded with, “We have to trust our governor, and this most recent episode should leave Montanans yearning to rebuild credibility, trust and transparency.

CLAIM #1: Bullock ‘NEVER’ Spoke with McLean about Leaving Ticket

  • The governor said he never spoke with McLean about leaving the ticket next year. (KXLH, 12/02/2015)
  • I didn’t have any conversations with her saying that she wouldn’t be on the ticket next time.” (Bullock Press Interview, 5:00)

FACT: Emails CONFIRM Bullock Spoke with McLean about Leaving Ticket

McLean Email to Bullock on May 28, 2015:

  • In a May 28 email from McLean to the governor, she said she remained “100 percent committed to going forward together,” but that she knew there had been talk “since early this year” about finding a new running mate. (KXLH, 12/11/2015)

McLean Email to Bullock on Oct. 2, 2015:

  • On Sunday we met and both you and Dave Parker indicated you did not believe I could be happy in my job. I indicated that the best path forward was for a ticket with you and me going forward.  (KXLH, 12/11/2015)
  • Yesterday we met again and I again indicated the best path forward was a Bullock McLean ticket. (KXLH, 12/11/2015)

McLean Email on Oct. 11, 2015:

  • I asked the Governor two Sundays ago to indicate to me personally whether I would be on the ticket or not. (KXLH, 12/11/2015)


CLAIM #2: Bullock REFUSED to Answer if Staff Spoke about McLean Departure

  • The governor said he never spoke with McLean about leaving the ticket next year, but didn’t answer whether his staff had talked about it. (KXLH, 12/02/2015)

FACT: Emails CONFIRM Bullock’s Staff Spoke about McLean Departure

  • Bullock staffers confirmed they had discussed early this year whether McLean would remain on the ticket, because of numerous disputes over how she did her job as lieutenant governor. (KXLH, 12/11/2015)
  • “Following our meeting, I received a call from (staffer) Dave Parker whereby he asked me to imagine a workplace if I stayed in my post, but the governor took away my initiatives and my ability to serve the citizens of Montana,” McLean wrote to the governor in an Oct. 2 email. (KXLH, 12/11/2015)


CLAIM #3: Bullock SURPRISED by McLean Announcement

  • Crowe says Bullock found out when McLean called him Monday morning. (AP, 11/30/2015)
  • Bullock: “I more or less learned about today.” (Bullock Press Interview, 6:40)


  • It was not necessarily a surprise, just a surprise that morning” when McLean called Bullock to tell him she had been offered, and accepted, the job. (Missoulian, 12/11/2015)
  • McLean foreshadowed her departure with a Facebook post on Nov. 24, 2016: “Yesterday was the last public event on my calendar for a long time.” (Facebook, 11/24/2016)

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