The Wednesday Read: Tester, Essmann, Taxes, & Emails

One of the reasons people hate politics is that truth is rarely a politician’s objective. Election and power are. – Cal Thomas

Today is one of those days that make it great to be an independent blogger!

These items caught my attention for this edition of The Wednesday Read:

  • Tester’s Fundraising
  • Essmann Tweets
  • The Sales Tax Issue
  • Deleting emails

Tester’s Fundraising:

I almost called this section, “What Goes Around Comes Around” but decided to keep it simple so U.S. Senator Jon Tester’s people can understand it. (Just kiddin)

If you follow me on Twitter then you were one of the first people to see the story Saturday night from the Boston Globe titled, Prominent Democratic law firm pays questionable ‘bonuses’ to partners for campaign contributions.”

The story was not too kind to Tester, which started with “Jon Tester didn’t come all the way from Montana for the scrambled eggs and bacon.” Then it followed it up with:

Tester, a massive, jovial man who raises livestock on his family farm, was more compelling than many of the other breakfast guests, all of them political candidates the firm hoped would defend the interests of trial attorneys. But the drill was basically the same. The personal injury lawyers listened politely for a few minutes, then returned to their offices. And Tester walked away with $26,400 in checks.

What basically happened is when one of the people at “the firm” donated to people like Tester; they received a “bonus” for about the same amount.

Tester has received a lot more than that $26,000. According to reports, Tester gave the donations he has received from the firm (totaling $51,800) to the U.S. Treasury on Monday, probably thinking that will end that.

Not so fast!

As Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), they received a larger chunk of money from the same folks. They should return all of it.

If we use the Tester method of campaigning we’ll have to ask what that $51,800 bought from Tester. Did he sponsor a bill they supported? Maybe they needed him to vote against a bill? Maybe they needed him to vote for a bill? If we can’t find anything, we’ll make some incredible story up about how he screwed over a group of people. We’ll keep looking. Maybe we can get the FBI to investigate…

Drip, drip drip…

Tester plays the political game as well as anyone, so he must realize that he is ass-deep in something that will haunt him all through his election cycle – as it should. What goes around…

Maybe now Tester realizes how easy it is to receive donations from people and or groups that are not above board.

Meanwhile, whatever happened to those annual ethics reviews?

Essmann Tweets:

Montana Republican Chairman Jeff Essmann posted the story on Twitter about a woman being granted an order of protection against Barry Beach. He then added, “@GovernorBullock Bad Judgement [sic] Bad for Montana”


In the early 1980s Beach was sentenced to serve 100 years in prison, with no possibility of parole, for the 1979 beating death of 17-year-old Kimberly Ness. About a year ago, Bullock granted Beach clemency, which required that he remain on probation for 10 years. The clemency was supported by hundreds if not thousands of people. I would imagine that Beach received more than his fair share of support for his release from the right side of the fence. Many probably donate their hard-earned money to the Republican Party.

It’s amazing what we see and hear the final few days of the campaign season.

Here’s some advice for Essmann. Since he and Beach live in Billings, maybe Essmann can mentor Beach…

The Sales Tax Issue:

I would have been perfectly fine with Republican candidate for Montana Governor Greg Gianforte saying that in 2002 he supported a sales tax, but he didn’t support a sales tax now. I mean there’s proof from an audio tape with him saying it, so he was kind of caught red-handed.

Instead of him just letting that rest, Gianforte is now claiming he never advocated for a sales tax, while also contending that Governor Bullock “won’t rule out a sales tax.”

I didn’t eat that bag of fun-size Butterfingers, either….

I have not heard a recording of Bullock saying a sales tax would be an ideal solution.

Pro-Tip: If you tell the truth, you won’t have to remember anything.

Deleting Emails:

Just because someone says something over and over does not mean it is correct. That is the case of supporters of Republican candidate for Governor Greg Gianforte. They contend that when Governor Steve Bullock (D) was Montana Attorney General he “deleted” his emails. They then try to tie him to Hillary Clinton and her email scandal.

It’s also a sad state of affairs when Republican or Democrat office holders (in this case Republicans) come out and act in their press conference or in their letter to the editor as if that they are trying to be honest when all they are doing is being partisan. People are sick of that.

I know that facts are hard to come by these days, but MTN reporter Mike Dennison reported about the emails on October 17:

Attorney General Tim Fox’s office says it’s “not able to determine” if his predecessor, Gov. Steve Bullock, deleted email records before leaving office…

By the way, Fox is a Republican.

The 2017 Montana Legislature working with all state-wide officeholders should address this issue and make clearer rules.

Meanwhile, will trying to tie Bullock to Clinton work? We’ll see next Tuesday evening.

*Note: this Friday I give my predictions on who will win all the statewide races in Montana.

## END ##



  1. Who can primary Tester? It’s time.

    • Greg – I doubt Tester gets a primary challenger of any significance. As for a GOP opponent, there are many that might take him on, starting with Zinke. – Thanks, -JmB

  2. The Sales Tax Issue:

    Outside of that one time video from 14 years ago…have you ever heard him advocating a sales tax…yeah, me neither.

    • Barry – That’s kind of my point – Gianforte once did advocate for a sales tax. You just said he did, too. So why is is now saying he did not when everyone knows he did. Just own it and move on. -Thanks, JmB

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: