Gov. Hypocrite ALERT: Bullock Blasts Dark Money in Aspen; Raised $4M in Dark Money

Governor Bullock attended a Summer Policy Conference in Aspen, Colorado this past weekend as Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), and participated in a conversation about the role of dark money in our political system. During this discussion, Bullock continues his hypocritical charges of railing against dark money while raising and spending this very same dark money to influence elections. Bullock’s remarks can be viewed here; quotes below start at 4:00.

RHETORIC: Bullock Calls for Dark Money Transparency

“If you want to spend money to influence the elections
just tells us where the check comes from.”

The voter ought to at least know who’s writing that check.


REALITY: Bullock Raises Over $4 Million in Dark Money

Bullock raised $17 million for the DGA in the first half of 2015 but he only disclosed around $13 million.

The remaining $4 million is unaccounted for and represents the amount of dark money Bullock raised so far this year.

Bullock refuses to reveal the sources and amounts of his dark money.


RHETORIC: Bullock Blasts Use of Dark Money Groups

Nobody knows who’s spending all this money because they do it through 501(c)(4)’s and others.”

REALITY: Bullock Uses Dark Money Group; Spends $1 Million to Attack PA Republicans, Boost Dem Gov

Bullock’s dark money organization has now spent over $1 million in attack-ads against Pennsylvania Republicans to help set-up his fellow Democrat Governor for re-election.

America Works has already spent more than $1 million on TV, radio and mailings.
(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 07/26/2015)

Organizations are what the IRS calls 501(c)(4) entities — nonprofits that can engage in political activity without identifying donors, as traditional political campaigns must do. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 07/26/2015)

America Works USA is allied with the Democratic Governors Association, which like its Republican counterpart has used a 501(c)(4) to wage state battles across the country. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 07/26/2015)

Bullock Marches Forward with Obama’s War on Coal

President Obama announced today even tougher EPA job-killing energy regulations that were designed with one purpose in mind: Shut down Montana’s coal industry.

These regulations mark the next battle in the War on Coal. Every Montanan should know that Governor Bullock supports the EPA’s job-killing energy regulations and is already moving forward with their implementation. These regulations will cripple our economy and eliminate thousands of good-paying Montana jobs.

Montana is on the front lines of the War on Coal yet Bullock sides with President Obama and the EPA on the battlefield– not Montana workers and their families,” said Jeff Essmann, Chairman of the Montana Republican Party. “Montanans deserve a Governor that will protect our energy industry and the thousands of good-paying jobs it supports.”

Both Bullock and Obama fail to understand how important Montana’s coal industry is to our economy, supporting thousands of good-paying Montana jobs, ensuring affordable electricity prices to our families, and providing tens of millions of dollars to our local schools and infrastructure each year.

All of this is threatened by Bullock’s support for the EPA’s job-killing energy regulations.

The real kicker here is that Montana’s coal plants are already more efficient than the rest of the country, and even President Obama’s former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson admitted, “U.S. action alone will not impact world CO2 levels.”

Bullock Raises Over $4 Million in Dark Money for DGA

Governor Bullock announced today that as Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), he raised $17 million during the first half of 2015, including over $4 million in undisclosed, unlimited corporate cash– the same cash Bullock publicly condemns and tells Montanans he’s fighting against.

Governor Bullock’s appalling level of hypocrisy is on full display today after it was revealed he raised over $4 million in dark money.” said Jeff Essmann, Chairman of the MTGOP. Bullock actively misleads Montanans telling us he is fighting dark money while in actuality he is raising and spending this very same cash for the benefit of his party and himself. Montanans deserve to have a Governor they can trust to keep his word even when it’s not convenient.”

Bullock’s dark money organization has now spent over $1 million in attack-ads against Pennsylvania Republicans to help set-up his fellow Democrat Governor for re-election.

The DGA has held fundraising events this year at the Kentucky Derby, in Dallas with Vice President Biden, Greenwich, CT, Nantucket, MA, White Sulphur Springs, WV, and this weekend in Aspen, CO. Bullock refuses to tell Montanans if he’s attending these events and how much dark money he raised. Bullock should release his travel schedule so Montanans know when he’s attending to his other job raising dark money.

After Bullock became Chairman of the DGA, he promised to change their dark money policy and “fully disclose all of its donors.” Bullock’s pledge has been nothing more than a broken promise.

Bullock’s Mismanagement of State Finances Grows

Governor Bullock is struggling to properly manage Montana’s tax dollars. It has been reported that the Bullock administration made overpayments to SNAP recipients and “the error rate in Montana’s food stamp program rose last year to more than twice the national average.”

The federal government is now going to have to spend over $100,000 to fix the Bullock administration’s errors.

Bullock responded to his administration’s errors by calling it, “unacceptable.”  Where have we heard this before?

Several weeks ago, it was reported the Bullock administration mismanaged our bookkeeping and almost cost the state millions when auditors found 125 significant accounting errors.

Bullock’s response then? He called it … “unacceptable.”

Montanans are still waiting for Governor Bullock to take responsibility for his administration’s incompetence. In fact, no one has been held accountable. No one has been fired. The Bullock administration is all too content providing one excuse after another as they work to downplay their accounting debacle:

  • Bullock’s budget director called these 125 significant accounting errors a “fluke” and “simple.”
  • The state accountant who oversaw the department responsible for these significant accounting errors was just transferred to work in another department.

ICYMI: Montana Newspapers Blast Bullock Admin for Mismanaging Tax Dollars

The Billings Gazette and Montana Standard Editorial Boards blasted the Bullock administration for mismanaging our hard-earned tax dollars. Auditors found 125 significant accounting errors by the Bullock administration, which led to the first adverse report ever issued on the state’s finances.

Bullock Administration Mismanaged Tax Dollars:

  • Misstated Montana’s infrastructure liabilities by $1 billion.
  • Misrepresented natural resource grants and contributions by $445 million.


Billings Gazette: Gazette opinion: Take responsibility for terrible state budget

The State of Montana’s finances aren’t as rosy as we once imagined, and the same people who may have contributed to the mess may be the ones ultimately charged with cleaning it up.”

This wasn’t just a single accidental oversight. Instead, the problems are deep — 125 errors and lack of internal controls. Sadly, those controls, had they been in place, according to the audit division, could have caught these problems earlier. In other words, there weren’t even controls in place to catch problems.”

For his part, Gov. Steve Bullock called it “completely unacceptable.” Wouldn’t it make more sense to do a little deeper digging on how the problems happened? Granted, that is hard when folks like Villa are a part of the governor’s own administration. A deeper investigation might be politically uncomfortable.

The question remains: How members of his staff are being held responsible for such shoddy results?

The buck should stop at Bullock. Then again, with our accounting practices, how would we know where the buck stops or even if it’s there?


Montana Standard: Audit of state administration disturbing, unacceptable

The audit conducted by Hunthausen’s staff revealed some 125 errors in accounting for the state government’s finances. And while state budget director Dan Villa characterized some of the errors as simple clerical issues, the overall picture should be disturbing to every Montana taxpayer.”

Villa told the Associated Press, “It’s not misappropriating funds or hiding money.” We would respectfully point out that, given the nature of the errors in oversight, it is all but impossible to know if Villa is correct in that assertion.”

Bottom line: The state’s finances are being accounted for in an unbelievably slipshod manner. Montanans have a right to expect better. And for Hogan and Villa, inescapably the buck stops with them.”

The status quo is unacceptable, and Gov. Bullock must act decisively to clean this mess up.

Bullock Administration’s Incompetence Nearly Cost Us, Concerns Remain …

While Moody’s announced that our AA+ bond rating is unlikely to be affected by the Bullock administration’s incompetence and mismanagement of taxpayer dollars, they still expressed concern over the weaknesses in the state’s ability to properly account for this money.

Last week, it was reported that auditors found 125 significant accounting errors by the Bullock administration, with many of these errors individually amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.

The auditor’s findings mark the first time an adverse report has ever been issued on Montana’s finances.  And, these disturbing findings threatened Montana’s fiscal health and could have cost Montana taxpayers millions of dollars.

The Montana Standard Editorial Board wrote, “The overall picture should be disturbing to every Montana taxpayer.”

After nearly a week of silence, Governor Bullock finally commented on this accounting debacle, calling it “unacceptable.”

Yet, the Bullock administration refuses to take responsibility for their high-level of incompetence:

  • Bullock’s budget director Dan Villa called these 125 significant accounting errors a “fluke” and “simple.”

Here are a few examples of the Bullock administration’s mismanagement of our tax dollars:

  • Misstated Montana’s infrastructure liabilities by $1 billion.
  • Misrepresented natural resource grants and contributions by $445 million.