National News: Bullock Stocked Task Force with Donors
Liberal Governor Steve Bullock (D-MT) is getting national attention for stocking his Coronavirus Task Force full of campaign donors. The governor has already taken criticism for being slow to issue out the $1.25 billion in federal aid that Montana's Congressional delegation helped send his direction.
Gregg Re with Fox News is reporting that Bullock's task force is also likely in violation of Montana's open meetings laws:
"What is clear is the public deserves answers as to why his donors are helping to hand out hundreds of millions of dollars of pandemic money, and they deserve full transparency," Adam Laxalt, the outside counsel to Americans for Public Trust and former Nevada Attorney General, told Fox News. "Using a pandemic to curry political favor with wealthy contributors is exactly the cynical swampiness that Americans can't stand about Washington. We will look into whether or not the closed door meetings violated Montana's open meetings law, but Governor Bullock owes the citizens of Montana as much transparency as possible when there's a potential public health emergency."
Meanwhile, Montana's Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) is receiving praise for his work on a landmark conservation and national park infrastructure bill from an unlikely source: Democrats. Here's what Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) had to say, according to KPAX-TV:
Tester believes it was that broad support, including a positive conversation between Daines and President Trump, which finally convinced Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to clear the way for the legislation.
Daines' 2020 challenger even had to give credit where credit is due (although you could tell in this left-leaning Missoula Current article that Bullock REALLY didn't want to say anything good about Daines' work):
I also applaud Steve Daines efforts in helping get this across the finish line.
Given the snarky nature of Bullock's overall response, it looks like the Montana GOP decided to have a little fun with this one: