“Aspirin” Billionaire To Bankroll Rehberg

From the Montana Democrats:

via Wikipedia

Foster Friess–the billionaire donor who said women should use aspirin “between their knees” as birth control–is considering a massive contribution to Crossroads GPS, Karl Rove’s secretive front group that has already spent over $600,000 to support multimillionaire Congressman Dennis Rehberg.

According to the New Republic, Rehberg is one of Friess’ “favored candidates.”  Friess is also considering “a six- or seven-figure donation to the conservative Super PAC American Crossroads or its sister organization, Crossroads GPS.”

Crossroads recently aired an ad attacking Jon Tester that was so false, a Montana cable company pulled it off the air.

“Congressman Rehberg has earned support from Wall Street billionaire Foster Friess because they share an out-of-touch, extreme agenda,” said Ted Dick, Executive Director of the Montana Democratic Party.  “Thanks to the Citizens United decision, Friess can spend whatever he wants trying to buy votes for Dennis Rehberg.  That’s because Congressman Rehberg supports tax loopholes that benefit millionaires–even when it means cutting Medicare, Social Security and education.”

Crossroads GPS has already spent hundreds of thousands to pay for false attack ads in Montana, following the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.

Congressman Rehberg supports secret financing of elections. The organization Citizens United endorsed Rehberg in September, giving him a $10,000 contribution. And earlier this month, Rehberg was caught hiding more than $20,000 he took from Washington lobbyists.

Baucus, Tester Congratulated For Tax Relief

Montana Democratic Party Executive Director Ted Dick today released the following statement in recognition of the payroll tax relief just passed by Congress:

English: Logo of the Democratic Party of the U...

“We are incredibly proud of the hard work Jon Tester and Max Baucus have put in on this issue.  Montanans shouldn’t have to lose out on a $1,000 tax break because of petty partisan games in Congress.  Thankfully, Jon and Max worked together to get the job done for Montana families.”

“Senator Baucus did something you rarely see in Washington these days: He brought folks from both side of the aisle to the table to give tax relief to working families when they need it most. His work represents the spirit of working together that Montanans expect and deserve in their elected leaders.”

 For me, the political races of 2012 come down to one thing: desire for fairness vs the desire to impose dogmatism.
I don’t think I need to tell you which party is for what- or that Denny Rehberg’s history of cooperation is pretty sketchy- and I’m being generous.

Rehberg Invites Rumsfeld

…presumably relying on Montanans’ short memories. From the Montana Democrats:
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld shares a ...

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Failed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is scheduled to be in Montana later this month to stump for multimillionaire Congressman Dennis Rehberg–a move that highlights Rehberg’s strong support of the failed policies of former President George W. Bush.

Rumsfeld, who resigned from office the day Jon Tester won his Senate seat, is known as the architect of one of the greatest misunderstandings of military intelligence in American history.  Rumsfeld was also a key supporter the controversial Patriot Act, which Congressman Rehberg has supported repeatedly.
“Donald Rumsfeld is almost as out-of-touch as Congressman Dennis Rehberg when it comes to reckless decisions about our freedoms,” said Ted Dick, Executive Director of the Montana Democratic Party.
Rumsfeld is holding a February 25 fundraiser near Bozeman for Rehberg, who recently got caught hiding tens of thousands of dollars he’s taken from out-of-state lobbyists.
“Donald Rumsfeld was a key figure in an administration known for its secrecy and lack of facts and transparency,” Dick said.  “After Congressman Rehberg tried to hide his lobbyist cash, it’s no surprise he’s now embracing Secretary Rumsfeld’s support.”
Yeah- a no-brainer.

Rehberg’s “Year Of Disaster”

One day after an Associated Press investigation found that Dennis Rehberg hid tens of thousands of dollars in cash from lobbyists, today the millionaire Congressman marks the one-year anniversary of his U.S. Senate campaign.

And what a year it’s been.
The Montana Democratic Party today released a video highlighting Rehberg’s most memorable, out-of-touch moments from the past year.  
“From calling Pell Grants ‘welfare’ to supporting an unpopular federal land-grab bill that undermines our rights, Congressman Rehberg has shown all of us how out of touch he is with Montana values–over and over again,” said Ted Dick, Executive Director of the Montana Democratic Party.  “Montanans deserve someone who stands for their values in Washington–not Dennis Rehberg, who was forced to drop a lawsuit against Billings firefighters.”
2011: A year of blunders for Congressman Dennis Rehberg:
February 6, 2011: Congressman Rehberg announces his candidacy for United States Senate alongside controversial presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann.  Bachmann had just proposedcutting $4.5 billion in veterans’ benefits.
February 8, 2011:  Rehberg makes national headlines for suggesting that judges should be on theEndangered Species Act.
April 1, 2011: Rehberg calls Pell Grants “the welfare of the 21st century.”
April 28 2011: Congressman Rehberg tells the Missoula City Club that although he is one of thewealthiest members of Congress, he is “struggling like everybody else” and “cash poor.”
September 2011: Montanans of all political backgrounds criticize Rehberg’s controversial sponsorship of his unpopular HR 1505, legislation that would give one federal agency the power to seize public lands in Montana.
October 8, 2011: The Associated Press notes that Rehberg has held “far more infrequent” public events in Montana.  Shortly thereafter, Rehberg stood by as a uniformed sheriff removed a Montana Democratic Party employee from Rehberg’s so called “public” event.
November 11, 2011: Amid a sea of controversy, Rehberg is forced to drop his wildly unpopular, 15-month lawsuit against Billings firefighters.
February 5, 2012: An Associated Press investigation finds that Rehberg hid tens of thousands of dollars campaign contributions, even as he criticizes others for taking campaign contributions.

Rick Hill: Destroyer Of Montana’s Fabulous Business Climate?

According to The Montana Democrats (fact-checked of course):

English: Rick Hill

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A study recently released by the Tax Foundation found that Montana has the eighth-best business tax climate in the nation.  That top 10 status is due in large part to Montana’s lack of a sales tax, according to leading in-state business organization that bills itself as “the driving force in promoting a favorable business climate.

The eighth-best ranking is one that the Montana Chamber of Commerce says is something they’ll “promote the heck out of” when attracting companies to do business here, but that ranking that would be lost if Montana instituted former Congressman Rick Hill’s sales tax.

According to a story in Lee Newspapers
, Webb Brown, President of the Montana Chamber of Commerce, said the Tax Foundation gives a lot of credit in its rankings to states that don’t have certain major taxes, such as general sales taxes or individual income taxes.

“Not only would Congressman Hill’s tax-hike take money from the wallets of middle-class Montanans, it would make it harder to create jobs, allow Montana businesses to expand and attract businesses to invest here,” Montana Democratic Party Executive Director Ted Dick said.

As one of the leading contenders for the GOP nomination for Governor, insurance-executive Hill has been a strong supporter of a sales tax.  Hill was the lead lobbyist in the 1993 Montana Legislative Session to put a $400 million tax increase on the ballot – which is over $620 million in today’s dollars.  More recently, Congressman Hill has advocated  for a sales tax as a candidate for Governor.

Governor Schweitzer sees Montana’s standing as one of America’s best business tax climates only getting better, telling reporters that the several states ahead of Montana in the rankings may be looking to raise taxes because they lack the financial stability we enjoy.  Moreover, Montana has cut taxes, like the business equipment tax, this year – which will also play into future rankings.

That may all be lost if Hill is able to ram through his sales tax.

###
Hill Lobbied for $400 Million Sales Tax, $72 Million Income Tax
During the 1993 legislative session, Hill lobbied to pass two measures that would drastically increase taxes on Montanans.  The first measure was a bill to place a $400 million sales tax measure on the ballot.  It was rejected by the voters 75% to 25%.  Hill also lobbied on behalf of a bill that would have increased income taxes by $72 million, but was again rejected by voters. [Billings Gazette State Bureau, 5/23/1996]

Hill Still Supports a Sales Tax
INTERVIEWER: You would support a sales tax as a substitute tax, you would be open to that?

HILL: I would be open to it as a substitute tax. [Voices of Montana, 8/18/2011]

“A lot of people have advocated in Montana for a long time that we need three stools to our tax structure; got to have the income tax, the property tax, and the sales tax. I have often been an advocate for sales tax as a substitute.” [Hometown Helena, 6/2/2011]

A Tale Of Two Polls

…from The Montana Democrats:

The red "GOP" logo used by the party...

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Dennis Rehberg’s supporters tonight are pushing a new GOP poll about Montana’s 2012 Senate race.  But a second poll released today—conducted by the same GOP polling firm—tells a much different story.

The first poll, conducted by the firm Public Opinion Strategies for Karl Rove’s secretive organization American Crossroads, shows questionable and uncharacteristic results for the race between Jon Tester and Congressman Dennis Rehberg.

The second poll released today, also conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, has much different results.  It shows the race much closer—well within the margin of error.

“Montanans don’t trust Crossroads or Dennis Rehberg, so why would they believe numbers from a firm that can’t even decide which numbers are accurate,” said Ted Dick, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party.  “Congressman Rehberg believes secrecy and unlimited corporate spending belong in Montana’s elections, and he and his allies will stop at nothing to try to influence the people of our state.”

Fascinating.

Tester vs Rehberg: Who Works Harder?

While the question may seem inflammatory and derisive, it’s totally fair. And The Montana Democrats have done their homework:

Location map of Montana, USA

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How did Jon Tester and Congressman Dennis Rehberg spend the month of January?  The difference couldn’t be more obvious.

Jon Tester traveled thousands of miles across the Treasure State, holding dozens of meetings and public events attended by more than 1,000 Montanans from across the political spectrum—discussing everything from online safety to consumer protection to job creation in Montana.

As for Dennis Rehberg?  Not counting plenty of interviews with newspapers, TV and radio stations, Rehberg’s only public event was a political news conference announcing his Senate bid—surrounded Republican legislators known for comparing women to cattle and birther bills.

“Unlike Jon Tester, Congressman Dennis Rehberg thought January was vacation time,” said Ted Dick, Executive Director of the Montana Democratic Party.  “After 35 years in politics, Congressman Rehberg has he’s lost touch with Montana, and his decisions are so irresponsible he apparently doesn’t want to face the music at home.”

Not including press interviews, political events, or “work” in Washington, here’s what Congressman Dennis Rehberg did in January:

January 12

  • Addressed Sentinel Kiwanis Club (Missoula)
  • (Rehberg also held political press conference in Helena during which he filed for U.S. Senate surrounded by Montana lawmakers)
January 19
  • Addressed Montana Chamber of Commerce (Helena)
Not including press interviews, political events, or work in Washington, here’s what Jon Tester did in January:

January 2:

  • Visited U.S. Government class at Harlem High School (Harlem)
  • Hosted Economic Development Roundtable (Harlem)
  • Met with Fort Belknap Tribal Council (Fort Belknap)
  • Visited U.S. Government class at Rocky Boy High School (Box Elder)
  • Held Veterans Roundtable (Box Elder)
January 4:
  • Visited Black Coffee Roasters (Missoula)
  • Met with local realtors (Missoula)
  • Met with Ravalli and Missoula Counties Suicide Task Force (Missoula)
  • Held roundtable with Missoula Head Start (Missoula)
  • Visited U.S. Government class at Sentinel High School (Missoula)
  • Met with Lance Corporal Tomy Parker, U.S. Marine Corps (Ronan)
January 5:
  • Addressed Daybreak Rotary (Kalispell)
  • Met with Mayor John Muhlfeld and City Council (Whitefish)
  • Toured Whitefish Care and Rehabilitation Center (Whitefish)
  • Met with Sheriff Chuck Curry (Kalispell)
  • Hosted online safety forum with Facebook (Kalispell)
  • Hosted online safety forum with Facebook (Billings)
January 6:
  • Visited Social Studies class at Skyview High School (Billings)
  • Met with Rocky Mountain College President Michael Mace and Greg Kohn (Billings)
  • Met with regional tribal leaders to discuss Indian health care (Billings)
  • Hosted roundtable discussion with Billings Chamber of Commerce on energy (Billings)
  • Met with Central Labor Council (Billings)
January 9
  • Met with the School Administrators of Montana (Helena)
  • Met with the Montana Rural Education Association (Helena)
  • Met with the Montana School Board Association (Helena)
  • Met with the Independent Insurance Agents of Montana (Helena)
January 10
  • Met with the National Federation of Independent Businesses (Helena)
  • Met with the Montana Bankers Association (Helena)
  • Met with the Montana Realtors Association (Helena)
January 11
  • Hosted roundtable discussion with Holly Petraeus Helena community leaders (Helena)
  • Visited Montana Department of Labor training session (Helena)
  • Hosted roundtable discussion with Holly Petraeus and National Guard members (Helena)
  • Hosted Roundtable discussion with Holly Petraeus and Great Falls community leaders (Great Falls)
  • Hosted roundtable discussion with Holly Petraeus and officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base (Great Falls)
  • Hosted town hall meeting with Holly Petraeus and airmen at Malmstrom Air Force Base (Great Falls)
January 12
  • Addressed the Montana Contractors’ Association (Big Sky)
  • Visited Bozeman Head Start (Bozeman)

January 13

  • Visited seniors at Lame Deer High School (Lame Deer)
  • Hosted veterans listening session (Lame Deer)
  • Toured Little Big Horn College (Crow Agency)
  • Hosted veterans listening session (Crow Agency)

January 20

  • Addressed Montana Chamber of Commerce (Helena)
  • Visited Helena Middle School (Helena)
  • Met with SeaCast Montana (Butte)
  • Met with Montana State Sheet Metal Workers (Butte)

Hmmm. Looks like Tester wins this round. If you count being industrious, that is.

A Rehberg Tax Reminder

…from The Montana Democrats:

Rep. Denny Rehberg (MT)

Image by republicanconference via Flickr

Congressman Dennis Rehberg again turned to his trusted talking points, telling Montana businesses (yesterday) what they want to hear.  But Rehberg’s record as a 11-year Congressman tells a much different story.

In a speech to the Montana Chamber of Commerce, Rehberg said businesses need more certainty and fewer regulations. Yet less than a month ago, Rehberg voted for more uncertainty when he voted against a payroll tax extension and against the Keystone XL Pipeline.

“In just the last year, Dennis Rehberg voted to raise taxes on middle-class families, he voted to shut down our government twice, and he voted to default our nation’s economy,” said Montana Democratic Party Executive Director Ted Dick.  “That’s one of the worst things that could have happened for business certainty.  Congressman Rehberg ought to know that Montana businesses want real solutions, not partisanship in Congress.”

Rehberg criticized regulations that hurt small businesses, but in 2010, he voted against the Food Safety Modernization Act.  Senator Jon Tester, a Montana farmer, successfully amended the law to ensure that family farmers and food producers were protected from federal regulations they don’t need and can’t afford.

“Congressman Dennis Rehberg has a long record of irresponsible decisions that have hurt Montana businesses and helped his fellow millionaires,” Dick said.  “After a career in politics that stretches back to 1977, Dennis Rehberg has lost touch with Montana.”

Here’s a quick look at Rehberg’s record of hurting Montana’s businesses and helping himself:

  • In his first year in Congress, Rehberg squandered a $236 billion surplus
  • During his 11 years in Congress, Rehberg has given himself FIVE pay raises while voting to raise the debt ceiling TEN times.
  • Rehberg was named the Tea Party Caucus‘ top earmarker
  • Rehberg voted against an extension of the payroll tax holiday and against the Keystone XL pipeline
  • Rehberg voted for a three-percent tax on contractors
In December 2010, Rehberg voted for the largest tax increase in history on Montana families and businesses.

Hill + Sonju = More Taxes

 Montana Democratic Party Executive Director Ted Dick released the following statement in response to Rick Hill‘s running mate announcement:
J.J. Hill & Carl Gray (LOC)

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

“Republicans need to decide if they think their strongest candidates are a lobbyist-turned-Congressman-turned-lobbyist and a state legislator who has voted six times to raise his pay, despite the fact that his company is making millions off of federal earmarks.  With his record of raising taxes on small businesses and working families and continued support of a sales tax, my guess is that Mr. Hill has his work cut out for him.”

The Montana Democrats elaborated with the following:
Hill Lobbied for $400 Million Sales Tax, $72 Million Income Tax

During the 1993 legislative session, Hill lobbied to pass two measures that would drastically increase taxes on Montanans.  The first measure was a bill to place a $400 million sales tax measure on the ballot.  It was rejected by the voters 75% to 25%.  Hill also lobbied on behalf of a bill that would have increased income taxes by $72 million, but was again rejected by voters. [Billings Gazette State Bureau, 5/23/1996]

Hill Still Supports a Sales Tax

INTERVIEWER: You would support a sales tax as a substitute tax, you would be open to that?

HILL: I would be open to it as a substitute tax. [Voices of Montana, 8/18/2011]

A lot of people have advocated in Montana for a long time that we need three stools to our tax structure; got to have the income tax, the property tax, and the sales tax. I have often been an advocate for sales tax as a substitute. [Hometown Helena, 6/2/2011]

Sonju Votes Six Times To Raise Legislator Compensation Package

In each of the four legislative sessions that Sen. Jon Sonju has served, he has voted for House Bill 1, the “feed bill” that finances the legislative session.  In each session, the legislature has increased the amount of money they reimburse themselves, leading to biannual increases in their pay package.  [HB 1, 2nd Reading, 1/12/2005 Yes, 3rd Reading, 1/13/2005 Yes; HB 1, 2nd Reading, 1/12/2007 Yes, 3rd Reading, 1/15/2005 No; HB 1, 2nd Reading, 1/8/2009 Yes, 3rd Reading, 1/8/2009 Yes; HB 1, 2nd Reading, 1/22/2011 Yes, 3rd Reading, 1/22/2011 No]

Sonju Lobbies for Millions in Federal Earmarks

“Some Montana companies with longtime Republican ties, however, still support earmarks. Kalispell-based Sonju Industries has teamed with the missile systems division of defense giant Raytheon Co. on a project that has previously received federal funding, and it asked for $8 million again this year. Jon Sonju, an officer of the company and a Republican representative in the Montana Legislature, met with Rehberg staff on the matter before Rehberg announced his earmark moratorium.” [Billings Gazette, 10/23/2010]

Rehberg: Local Governments Richer Than The Feds

Rep. Denny Rehberg (MT)

Image by republicanconference via Flickr

After earning the title of the Tea Party Caucus’s top earmarker, and after giving himself five pay raises in Congress, Montana’s millionaire Congressman is now telling Montanans that they should turn to their local governments if they need any help.

“I always find it a little bit ironic when somebody comes to me and says we need money at the local level from the federal government,” Rehberg recently told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle (onlineHERE).  “I say, well, why don’t you ask the local level, because, you’ve got more money than we do.”

What Rehberg forgot to mention was that the last time Congress approved earmarks, he earned the title of “tea partier with his name on the most earmarks” — requesting more than $100 million for Montana.

Rehberg, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, also failed to mention that while he was spending millions in taxpayer money, he gave himself five pay raises during his 12 years in Congress–at a time when hardworking Montanans were nation was struggling.  Hmmm.

“Congressman Dennis Rehberg is desperately wants Montanans to forget his long, irresponsible record of giving himself pay raises while spending their money in Congress,” said Ted Dick, Executive Director of the Montana Democratic Party.  “Now his message to Montanans is ‘tough luck.’  We join all Montanans in demanding more responsible decisions from Congress than Dennis Rehberg’s.”

Rehberg’s Pay Raise Votes:
Votes to RAISE his own pay in 2006200520042003, and 2002 (NOTE: The 2006 pay raise was later blocked by the Democratic Congress in 2007).