Motl Lies To House Judiciary – Then Gets An Unpleasant Surprise

Earlier today, Montana’s House Judiciary Committee heard testimony on an important bill that, alas, has zero chance of being signed by Governor Steve Bullock.  Rep. Derek Skees’ bill, HB 340, would eliminate the office of Commissioner of Political Practices (COPP) and assign its duties to the Attorney General and the Secretary of State. The premise of the bill is that COPP has too much unfettered power which inevitably leads to abuse of that power by the commissioner.

Commissioner Jonathan Motl testified and was soon asked by Rep. Theresa Manzella about Exhibit A showing his unfitness for office. Five days before Election Day, Motl accused Rep. Brad Tschida of criminal misconduct, and did so in an interview on KGVO radio, which was broadcast into Tschida’s district. (a transcript of the interview is here, and an audio recording is here)

Caught flatfooted, Motl responded by lying: “I don’t think I accused him of a crime.” Unfortunately for him, Manzella came armed with a copy of the transcript.

Motl’s slander against Tschida was the culmination of a long running disagreement Tschida has had with Bullock’s misuse of state-owned aircraft to facilitate his relationship with former Commerce Director Meg O’Leary. Tschida filed an ethics complaint against both of them with Motl’s office in September. Motl, of course, attempted to bury the ethics complaint until after Election Day.

For his part, Bullock illegally relied upon Andrew Huff, a government-paid attorney, to defend him against the ethics complaint.

Confronted with this cover-up, Tschida sent a copy of the ethics complaint to senators contemplating a special committee to investigate Bullock’s corruption.

A day later, Motl declared on KGVO radio that Tschida’s disclosure of the ethics complaint occurred “in the last days of a campaign, which I think magnifies the seriousness of what he did,” and “it’s just outrageous that he did what he did at the time that he did it.” Motl also accused Tschida of having “personal responsibility for his actions; and so he’ll need to deal with the consequences of breaking state law.” The following colloquy then occurred between him and an interviewer for KGVO:

Interviewer:  And what are those consequences?

Motl: There’s, uh, the main consequence that befalls an official     who, um, violates a mandatory duty is official misconduct.

Interviewer: And that would be a charge in civil court?

Motl: No, it’s criminal court.

Interviewer: It’s a criminal court charge?

Motl: Yes.

So after Motl finished explaining how indignant he was about Tschida disclosing the ethics complaint against Bullock before the election, he then slandered Tschida by accusing him of a crime.

During a radio interview broadcast into Tschida’s district.

Five days before the election.

It gets better.

The crime of official misconduct is in Title 45 of the Montana Code Annotated, an area of law over which Motl has no jurisdiction. The gag rule in 2-2-136, MCA, that Tschida supposedly violated, by contrast, imposes only civil fines for its violation.

Yet Motl accused him of a crime.

And it was a lie. The day after Election Day, Motl admitted in a sworn statement that he no intention of seeking a criminal prosecution against Tschida.  Motl’s false accusation of criminal conduct was intended to silence Tschida’s criticism of Bullock during the final, crucial days of the campaign.  Motl’s lie had no other purpose.

When confronted with his misconduct earlier today in House Judiciary, Motl claimed he didn’t accuse Tschida of a crime.

Take another look at the transcript. Motl lied yet again.

Committee Democrats were indignant about Manzella’s questions “not being on the bill.” Their objections were the kind of obstructionism attorneys in a courtroom try screaming out when they know their witness is getting worked. Motl’s conversion of his office into an adjunct of the Democratic Party has everything to do with Skees bill, and his slander against Tschida five days before the election is Exhibit A in a stack of proof showing why his office should be shut down, locked up, and fumigated.

The silence of the “GOP” House “leadership” in response to Motl’s threats and slander against Tschida, as well as its silence regarding the overall abuse by Motl of his office, has been disgraceful.

Tschida had the courage to expose Bullock’s corruption before Election Day. Manzella (and, to a lesser extent, Alan Doane, Seth Berglee, and Barry Usher) had the courage to confront Motl today. So now we know that the 59-member “Republican” House caucus has at least five members worthy of the title.

Skees’ bill comes up for executive action (probably next week) and a floor vote after that – assuming that the other House Judiciary Republicans have the kind of courage Manzella exhibited today.

Are there any other Tschidas and Manzellas in the House GOP caucus? We’ll soon find out.

Sen. Regier’s Anti-Sharia Bill Targets Symptoms – Trump & Cruz Target The Disease

Most of the Middle East is governed by sharia law. Britain has 85 operational Sharia courts. Germany has “sharia police,” and mass rape. And in France, “no-go” zones for non-Muslims are spreading like viruses and creating “a situation [that] is out of control” and “not reversible.”

These are symptoms of a cancer.  The cancer is Islamacism, and it grows in proportion to a nation’s Muslim population. Eastern European and the former Soviet Baltic states are asymptomatic, and a glance at a chart prepared by the Pew Research Center explains why these nations have a brighter future than Britain, France, and Germany.

Yesterday, the Montana Senate’s Judiciary Committee heard testimony on SB 97, a bill by Sen. Keith Regier that would band reliance on sharia and other foreign laws in Montana courts.  This would treat symptoms of the cancer but not its cause. That’s not a knock on Sen. Regier.  SB 97 ought to be passed and, in a sane legislature, it would be – unanimously.

But only the federal government’s immigration policy can offer long-term cures. Once a nation’s Muslim population reaches critical mass, the political pressure to accommodate sharia, both from Muslims themselves as well as multiculturalists, increases accordingly. State statutes intended to prevent this will either be ignored or repealed. Conversely, state anti-sharia statutes are unneeded when a nation’s Muslim population is kept to a minimum.

Today came word of two measures that might offer meaningful cures. One is an executive order President Trump is expected to sign that will ban (at least temporarily) immigration from terror-prone nations. Another is a bill by Sen. Ted Cruz that would give governors at least some authority to restrict refugee resettlement in their states. Both measures offer the beginnings of a potential rollback of the steady Islamification of America resulting from growing Muslim populations.

Though the patriots who appeared at yesterday’s hearing on SB 97 should be commended, they need to focus instead on Montana’s congressional office holders. Don’t bother persuading Jon Tester – he simply needs to be defeated. Where do his potential opponents, such as Tim Fox, stand on Cruz’s bill? How about immigration bans from terrorist-infected nations? What does Sen. Daines think? And maybe someone should ask these questions of the candidates seeking to fill Ryan Zinke’s seat.

The Party That Boos God And Israel At Its Convention Is Upset Christians Won’t Support It

 

In a remarkably unguarded moment on Inauguration Day, Nancy Pelosi declared the following about white-working class Christians: “They pray in church on Sunday, and prey on people the rest of the week.”

She wasn’t finished.

“And while we’re doing the Lord’s work by ministering to the needs of God’s creation, they are ignoring those needs, which is to dishonor the God who made them.”

Accusing white working-class believers of “dishonoring” God and “preying” upon people is an interesting strategy for retaking the White House in 2020. She’s a bit confused as to who’s been doing the actual preying the last few decades. But Pelosi does have a point if, by “ministering to the needs of God’s creation,” she means stuff like:

  • Booing both Israel and the God of Israel at the party’s national convention,
  • Imposing a gag rule, enforced by IRS audits, on clergymen who speak out about candidates,
  • Dragging faith groups with names like the “Little Sisters of the Poor” into court because they won’t pay for abortions, then forcing them to litigate all the way to the Supreme Court,
  • Fighting any legal impediment to the annual murder of over a million unborn children, then selling their body parts,
  • Laying the groundwork for lawsuits against churches that refuse to use a transgender’s preferred pronoun and instead insist on adhering to biological truth.

Perhaps Pelosi should chat with Michael Ware, a theologically conservative Christian who served as Obama’s director for faith outreach during the 2012 campaign. Shockingly, Team Obama had one on its payrolls. Speaking to the Atlantic a few weeks ago, Ware described how he wrote a campaign document entitled “Economic Fairness and the Least of These.” Ware was then chided by another Obama staffer: “Is this a typo? It doesn’t make any sense to me. Who/what are ‘these’?” Most Democrats, being biblically illiterate, have no idea that phrases such as “the least of these” were coined by Someone of significance to believers.

Ware’s suggestions to Democrats about outreach to Christians are pretty straightforward: at least pretend to seek their votes and, while doing so, at least pretend not to hate them.

Hopefully, Democrats won’t take Ware’s advice. If Republicans hope to survive the post-Trump era, they need, at some point, to make inroads with church-going Latinos, African-Americans, and Asians. The Democrats’ religious animus, now so open and toxic, is making that task a little easier.

The Post-Inaugural Riots Might Be a Harbinger of Post-Trump America

(Note: This piece originally appeared on The Resurgent on January 20, 2017)

As we contemplate life under President Trump for the next four (or eight) years, it is, unfortunately, not too early to also contemplate what the world will look like after he leaves. Analysts describe the Republican Party as being stronger than at anytime since 1928. That should be a source of humility rather than pride for Republicans. While the political map looked like this in 1928, it didn’t take long for things to look like that. The Left’s display since Election Day of unbridled hatred reveals a potentially dark future that, given the Republican Party’s historic inability to exploit victories and retain power, might come sooner than we think.

Democrats of the post-Trump era will be unrecognizable to those who voted for JFK, and even to many who voted for Bill Clinton. The party will be a more self-righteous, more militant, more anti-Israel, and more anti-Christian force than anything we’ve seen in this nation in our lifetimes.

And unlike Republicans, Democrats use power when they get it. For all of the recent wailings about women needing new coat hangers and gays being forced back into the closet, same-sex marriage, abortion, and the secularization of our schools and our culture will likely outlast Trump. Conservatives, however, should have no confidence that their values will survive in the post-Trump era.

Growing numbers of Americans are noticing the deepening fissures. Secessionism, something most of us thought had been extinguished 150 years ago, is on the rise. Last year, secessionists in the Texas Republican Party were two delegates shy of forcing a floor vote on adding a secessionist plank to state party’s platform. November’s election results dampened those efforts while kindling new ones in anti-Trump California.

If (or when) the Left can regain power, and if it can resume its assaults on religious liberties and Second Amendment rights, Texas secessionists will be reinvigorated. They will be stronger, more organized, and better financed. And their movement won’t be confined to Texas.

Après Trump, le déluge. The most important task President Trump and Republicans have is to mobilize the citizens who still believe in American exceptionalism to build the dams, levees and spillways needed to contain the future floodwaters of a resurgent progressivism.

And this task must begin today. Decades of multiculturalism have, for a critical mass of Americans, silenced what Abraham Lincoln called our “mystic chords of memory.” Jimmy Carter’s former pollster, Pat Caddell, routinely reminds us that we are in a “pre-revolutionary” period. Bulwarks need to be erected, soon, that can provide long-term protection for what remains of our economic, religious, and Second Amendment rights. Otherwise, it’s difficult to imagine the “pre” part of Caddell’s observation lasting after a return to power by the Left.

HB 202 & 208 Are Needed To Combat Bullock’s Corruption, And Rep. Wagoner Needs To Say So

Representative Kirk Wagoner is on a quest to do what public employee unions claim to do but don’t: protect state employees from retaliation when they blow the whistle on government corruption. That protection is critical because, as the U.S. Supreme Court recently noted, “speech by public employees on subject matter related to their employment holds special value precisely because those employees gain knowledge of matters of public concern through their employment.

Wagoner is carrying two bills, HB202 and HB208, that would criminalize attempts by supervisors to retaliate against state employees who report corruption.  The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony on HB202 last week and will hear more on Friday concerning HB 208.  Democrats (another group that supposedly looks out for state employees) weren’t impressed. Governor Steve Bullock will never sign a bill that immunizes employees who open closets holding his skeletons.  That being the case, here’s a few thoughts on how Republicans can make the most of these hearings:

1)  Require Notice To Employees of Federal Civil Rights Laws Protecting          Their Communications With State Legislators

Lost in the discussion last week over the rights government whistleblowers have under state law is the protections they already have under federal law. The Ninth Circuit has held that retaliation against a state employee whistleblowers for communicating with legislators violates the First Amendment and therefore subjects the government to compensatory and punitive damages. See, e.g., Freitag v. Ayers, 468 F.3d 528, 545-46 (9th Cir. 2006) (female prison guard’s communications with a state senator concerning workplace harassment were entitled to First Amendment protection).  And with any First Amendment violation, a victim has a right to file a civil rights lawsuit in federal court (and, if successful, be awarded damages and attorneys fees) rather than rely on Montana’s left-wing courts that have little or no sympathy for employees who blow the whistle on Bullock Administration corruption.

Federal law requires employers to conspicuously post notices advising employees of their rights to a minimum wage and a non-discriminatory environment.  A useful addition to both HB202 & HB 208 would be provisions requiring the state to post similar notices concerning state employees’ rights under the First Amendment to report evidence of corruption to state legislators.

2)   Add A Private Right Of Action For Employees Who Have Suffered                 Retaliation

Leo Gallagher, the County Attorney for Lewis & Clark County, and Jamie McNaughton, Jonathan Motl’s mini-me, testified that they won’t investigate or prosecute violations of HB 202.  When Democrats admit that they’re unwilling to ferret out corruption, we should take them at their word. Republicans should therefore amend HB202 and HB208 to include a private right of action, which would allow employee victims to file lawsuits in state court on their own behalf without having to rely on Montana bureaucrats. Section 8547.8(c) of the California Government Code provides a useful template

3) Call Out Bullock’s Policy Of Retaliating Against Employees Who     Blow The Whistle on His Corruption

Wagoner and other Republicans need to address the real reason whistleblower protection statutes are needed. Decades ago, they weren’t, or at least not nearly as much.  Ted Schwinden and Marc Racicot did not feel the need to destroy the careers of low-level employees who criticized them. Nor did they generate the kinds of corruption that, in turn, generate a need for whistleblowers in the first place.

Brian Schweitzer and Steve Bullock, however, are a different breed. Their 12 years in office has resulted in institutionalized pay-to-play and a pattern of retaliation against state employees who don’t go along with the program.  Republicans should remind the public of some recent examples of corruption these governors have perpetrated.

One example warranting a close look (and probably some subpoenas) is the nearly $ 1 million in confidential payouts made by the Bullock Administration to state employees.  One of Montana’s most liberal newspapers broke the story, a story in which one of Helena’s most liberal attorneys, Mike Meloy, acknowledges that Bullock’s hush money settlements violated state law.  Inexcusably, our “Republican” Legislature has done nothing about it.  Wagoner can and should raise this issue.  And show the party’s “leadership” what real leadership looks like.

Another way to illustrate the importance of protecting whistleblowers is to highlight the rampant retaliation Schweitzer and Bullock have visited upon DPHHS auditors who blew the whistle on Medicaid overpayments to Democrat-friendly tribes and contractors. At least seven of them were demoted or fired.

These whistleblowers, and countless others in Montana’s state and local government offices, risked (and often lost) their livelihoods speaking out against the Bullock Administration’s corruption.  Republican legislators, who face no similar risk, owe it to these employees to tell their stories and not let their sacrifices be in vain.

Table HB44 Until Montana’s Judiciary Stops Shilling For Dems & Trampling On The Senate’s Constitutional Power

Sen. Nels Swandal, a former Montana judge, will begin tomorrow morning to try to reclaim the Montana Senate’s constitutional authority to confirm executive appointments.  He will offer a resolution for the Senate to intervene in the lawsuit Democrats and Montana’s judiciary have used to unconstitutionally extend Jonathan Motl’s term as Commissioner of Political Practices.  Motl’s term should have ended last week according to an agreement signed by both the Senate and Gov. Steve Bullock two years ago.

This is a good first step – one that I proposed last week.  Having an attorney in the case who represents the Senate’s interests certainly can’t hurt because there is no adversity between the “adverse” parties currently in the case.  The plaintiff, former Sen. Christine Kaufman, is suing because the Senate resolution confirming Motl in 2015 — a resolution she voted for — somehow violates her rights.  She’s suing “Defendant” Bullock to “force” him to keep his Lois Lerner wannabe in office.

The court file shows just how much of a farce the case really is. “Plaintiff” Kaufmann filed the lawsuit on December 20.  Much like a defendant who murders his parents and then asks for leniency because he’s an orphan, Kaufmann’s attorneys waited nearly 2 years to file suit, then claimed that “the press of the holiday season” necessitated a delay and, of course, an extension of Motl’s term while the case is pending.

A defense attorney representing an actual, adverse party would have objected to this obvious manipulation.  Instead, Bullock’s attorney stipulated to the delay.

A judge with any concern for the Senate’s constitutional authority to confirm executive appointees, which is what’s at stake in this case, would have instructed the plaintiffs to give notice to the Senate. Judge Kathy Seeley did no such thing, which is consistent with her track record.  During the last week of the 2012 gubernatorial campaign, she ordered Rick Hill to take down his radio and TV ads.  Her order was patently unlawful. A federal court recently validated, nearly four years after the election, Hill’s acceptance of the campaign contributions used for the ads.

So while the Senate will hopefully be allowed to object on the court record, no one should expect the judiciary to protect the Senate’s interests.  Quite the contrary – every day that Motl illegally remains in office is a day that Bullock and Montana’s judiciary spit in the face of the Montana Senate, and the Montana Constitution. Additional responses are in order.

Tabling HB 44 would be another way for the Legislature to defend its constitutional authority.  HB 44 would increase the number of district court judges in Montana from 46 to 51 – a 10% increase at a time when all other government agencies are being pressured to cut costs.  And hiring a new judge really means hiring a new judicial staff, including a judicial assistant, a court reporter, and a law clerk. Adding 5 judges (and their staffs) to the government’s payrolls will add another $2 million annually to the state’s budget.  Which doesn’t include the costs to counties.  As the fiscal note attached to HB 44 helpfully points out, “Counties are responsible for providing space for Judges and their staff and courtrooms.”

So tabling HB 44 is a twofer for Republicans – or at least real Republicans. They can penalize the judiciary for its refusal to follow the Montana Constitution while protecting taxpayer dollars.

Ask yourself if Montana’s judiciary has done its job of delivering unbiased justice so well that it deserves an 10% increase in its district court budget while all other state governmental entities are being told to suck it up and absorb cuts.

The record demonstrates otherwise, to put it charitably. Montana’s judiciary has been an albatross strangling the state’s liberty and prosperity for decades. As the Montana Policy Institute correctly notes:

Montana’s judicial system—which consistently ranks as one of the least stable and most liberal in the country—is unfair and unpredictable, creating a legal environment that is highly unfavorable for organizations and individuals looking to do business in the state.

A detailed study from MPI and Professor Rob Natelson shows just how detrimental the state’s judiciary has been over the past several decades to Montana’s freedom and prosperity.

Montana’s judiciary is now starting down an even more toxic road.  Most of its judges endorsed a candidate for Supreme Court prone to bigoted, anti-Christian rantings.  The Supreme Court is now attempting to shove a fascist gag order down the throats of Montana’s attorneys.

Democrats have long trumpeted the state’s “nonpartisan” judiciary. They’ve always been full of it – but now they really don’t even bother hiding the fact that Montana’s judiciary is, essentially, an adjunct of the Democratic Party. Their most recognizable figure shilled for Dirk Sandefur, a Supreme Court “justice” who is the most recent embodiment of the Left’s hypocritical demands for tolerance of everyone except Bible-believing Christians.  The Montana Democratic Party spent nearly $60,000 getting Sandefur elected to the state’s “nonpartisan” judiciary.

Alexander Hamilton praised the judicial branch as the “best expedient which can be devised in any government, to secure a steady, upright, and impartial administration of the laws.” But he also recognized “that as liberty can have nothing to fear from the judiciary alone, but would have every thing to fear from its union with either of the other department.”  That day has arrived.  The Montana Senate’s constitutional prerogatives, and ultimately the rights of Montanans, are jeopardized by the collusion between Montana’s executive and judicial branches.

James Madison, the father of the Constitution, taught us that “power is of an encroaching nature.”  Consequently, weakness and inaction by the Legislature in the face of Bullock’s and the judiciary’s blatant violation of the Senate’s confirmation authority will ensure more encroachments and further erosion of other powers granted to the Legislature by the Constitution.

Through decades of imposing its left-wing ideology on a center-right state, endorsing anti-Christian bigotry on the Supreme Court, and now stripping the Senate of its authority to confirm a crucial executive appointee, Montana’s judiciary has forfeited any right to be regarded as nonpartisan.  Now that budget season has arrived, the Legislature should make the judiciary stand in the same line as other Bullock-controlled government entities and explain why its track record entitles it to more taxpayer funds while every other agency is being required live within its means, and live within the confines of the Montana Constitution.

Scott Sales’ First Challenge: Defending the Senate From a Dem Power Grab

 

Scott Sales, the newly minted President of the Montana Senate, had an interesting reaction to the debacle that occurred in the House during the first week of the 2015 legislative session – one offering a glimpse into how he might react to a similar crisis he’ll soon confront in the Senate. In 2015, 41 House Democrats claimed that at least 10 Republicans-in-Name-Only (RINOs) would join them in repealing the House “blast rule,” which required at least 60 votes to revive bills that had been killed in House committees.  As long as the rule survived, 41 of us who were reliable conservatives could keep any liberal bill from getting out of the House, much like 41 U.S Senators can filibuster any major piece of legislation they don’t like.

So repealing the blast rule was the first order of business for House Democrats and RINOs.  Unfortunately, House Speaker Austin Knudsen flinched and agreed to a modified blast rule allowing Democrats to “blast” 6 bills of their choosing out of committees with 51 votes rather than 60. The compromise received near unanimous support from Dems, RINOs, and freshmen like me too ignorant to realize that we had just slit our own throats. Thus, Democrats ran the House in 2015 concerning their 6 highest priorities, including Obamacare-Medicaid, the Disclose Act, and the CSKT land grab.

Immediately after the debacle, Sales told me that Knudsen should have forced a vote on the blast motion repeal, which would have forced every RINO to “walk the plank,” as he put it. Maybe they all would have voted for the repeal anyway and we would have still lost. But maybe they wouldn’t have. At the very least, we would have forced the RINOs to own up to their backstabbing on the record rather than thrive on darkness and behind-closed-door dealmaking.

Fast forward two years. Sales can now practice what he preaches.

A Helena judge issued an order on Friday indefinitely extending the term of Jonathan Motl, Montana’s Commissioner of Political Practices. When the Montana Senate confirmed Motl in 2015, it did so under the express condition that his term would end on Jan. 1, 2017. When Bullock notified Secretary of State Linda McCulloch of Motl’s appointment, he informed her of the termination date.  And when Bullock formally notified Motl himself of the appointment, he also informed Motl of the termination date.

But this is Montana, where the state’s judiciary is a joke.  So naturally, with days remaining in Motl’s term, the judge granted, at least for now, a request by a collection of Motl’s groupies to extend his term.  Their lawsuit is a sham. Here’s why:

  • The “defendant” is Bullock, who appointed Motl in 2013 and again in 2015. Motl has destroyed, or attempted to destroy, the political careers of numerous conservatives, including Sales, Art Wittich, Mike Miller, Ken Miller, Rick Hill and countless others.  So you can imagine what kind of “opposition” Bullock will offer against a lawsuit that would keep his left-wing thug in office for another 2 years.
  • The lead “plaintiff” is former Sen. Christine Kaufmann, who voted to confirm Motl in 2015. According to the lawsuit, her “rights as a… Senator who exercised her authority to confirm Mr. Motl would be violated” if he’s forced to leave office before 2019.  The suit doesn’t mention that, in “exercis[ing] her authority to confirm Mr. Motl” Kaufmann voted for a resolution expressly ending his term on Jan. 1, 2017. Only in Montana would a judge grant relief to a plaintiff for an injury the plaintiff inflicted upon herself. “Plaintiff” Kaufmann should move to intervene in the lawsuit as a defendant, too, so that she can sue herself.
  • The plaintiff’s attorney making these kinds of arguments, apparently with a straight face, is Jim Goetz. He’s experienced at keeping COPP a Democrat-friendly institution.  After former Gov. Brian Schweitzer was found guilty by COPP of ethics violations and fined $4100, Democrats gave themselves a do-over and “deputized” Goetz as a temporary COPP officer, who then issued a superseding ruling absolving Schweitzer of any wrongdoing.
  • The judge presiding over the case is Kathy Seeley who, as you might recall, ordered Rick Hill to take down his radio and TV ads during the final crucial weeks of the 2012 gubernatorial race.  Her order was patently unlawful – a federal court recently validated Hill’s acceptance of the campaign contributions used for the ads.  But the damage was done. Seeley’s illegal gag order probably cost Hill the election.

No longer are Montana’s arrogant left-wing judges, lawyers, and governor content to merely derail the political careers of conservative legislators. They are now precipitating a constitutional crisis by stripping legal authority from the Montana Senate as an institution. If this sham suit succeeds, Montana’s executive and judicial branches will deprive the Montana Senate of its legal right to confirm or reject a new COPP appointee that Bullock is supposed to present during this session.

It is imperative that Sales and other senators confront this power grab head on. During the debates over ratifying the U.S. Constitution, James Madison explained how branches of government could defend their powers and preserve the separation of powers that is a bedrock principle of our government:

But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others.

Madison’s means-and-motive doctrine applies as much at the state level as the federal level.  Sales and Co. certainly have the means to defend the Senate’s turf. They can begin by filing a motion to intervene in the lawsuit as defendants, thereby injecting into the suit parties that will offer more than sham opposition.  This can be done by retaining a bulldog conservative attorney willing to expose this lawsuit for the charade that it is (and no, I’m not auditioning for the job – Motl’s other attempts to destroy Republicans are keeping me plenty busy).

If that fails, they can vote to reduce the number of justices on the Montana Supreme Court. The state constitution establishes a five-member court while giving the Legislature authority to increase that number to seven, which the Legislature has done. The court clearly has time on its hands, as evidenced by its efforts to shove a fascist gag rule down the throats of Montana attorneys. Senators can vote to reduce the court’s number back to five, and save taxpayers some money to boot.  And speaking of taxpayer money, this might be a good time to subject Montana’s entire judicial branch to some real auditing.  Most other parts of state government are being asked to tighten their belts, and there’s no reason why Montana’s judiciary should be exempt.

These tools certainly satisfy the first half of Madison’s means-and-motive doctrine.  The real question is, do Montana’s Senators have the motive — or, more to the point, the balls — to defend their turf?  Real Republicans certainly do. Democrats certainly don’t – for them, advancing Bullock’s agenda ranks far above their duty to defend the Senate as an institution.

The entertaining part of this otherwise sorry drama will be the reaction of the RINOs in the Montana Senate if they’re forced to go on record concerning the Dems’ power grab.  Two years ago, they joined with Senate Democrats to give Motl the votes he needed for confirmation.  That includes Ed Buttrey, who is currently seeking the nomination for Montana’s vacant congressional seat.

If I were betting man, I’d put money on Buttrey and friends screwing the GOP once again and voting with Dems to stop any effort by Republicans to defend the Senate.  But Sales at least has the power to make them go on record and walk the plank, something Knudsen failed to do two years ago.  A strong stand in defense of Senate authority would be good for the institution and the GOP.  Oh yeah… it wouldn’t hurt Sales either if, hypothetically, he had plans in the near future to run for something bigger.

The Montana Supreme Court Considers Codifying Left-Wing Fascism

The most left-wing court in the nation might soon sink to a new low. The Montana Supreme Court is considering imposing on Montana attorneys an “ethics” rule that Ronald Reagan’s Attorney General, Edwin Meese, describes as “border[ing] on fascism.”

Actually, Meese is wrong.  Proposed Rule 8.4(g) doesn’t “border on” fascism — it IS fascism — left-wing fascism, to be precise.  It was approved in August by the American Bar Association (ABA), which over the years has become a bottomless fountain of liberal sewage.  As explained by the Christian Legal Society, adoption of Rule 8.4(g) by the Montana Supreme Court would force Christian attorneys in Montana to either surrender their deeply held religious beliefs or else surrender their law licenses. The rule would subject them to suspension or disbarment for making “harmful verbal” communications against various protected groups, such as gays, “transgenders,” and Muslims.  And it would apply anytime a lawyer makes such a statement “related to the practice of law,” which is just about any circumstance for a lawyer other than private conversations in a private residences.

The kinds of “discrimination” subject to Rule 8.4(g) would include:

  • Catholic attorneys declining to perform adoptions for same-sex couples due to Pope Francis’ opinion that children should be raised by heterosexuals;
  • Christian judges officiating normal marriages but refusing to officiate same-sex “marriages.”

Advocacy subject to Rule 8.4(g) would include preparing opinions for “discriminatory” organizations such as churches and the Boy Scouts on how best to adhere to their religious tenets.  Indeed, California already prohibits its judges from serving as leaders in “discriminatory” organizations such as the Boy Scouts

In short, Rule 8.4(g) is an existential threat to Christian attorneys who take their faith seriously.

Particularly disturbing is the prospect of Justice-elect Dirk Sandefur’s participating in deliberations regarding Rule 8.4(g).  He rode to victory last month by pandering to homosexual extremists and denouncing Christians who take their faith seriously as “bigots and haters”:

Sandefur’s 2016 campaign was so bigoted that Justice Jim Rice issued the following extraordinary rebuke:

Ordinarily, I would not publicly comment on the election campaigns of those running for the Supreme Court. However, this year I have been disturbed by the attack on Juras’ religious beliefs by her opponent. Religious-based animus has no place in a campaign for any public office, but especially for a judicial office. Citizens must be able to trust that the courts will make decisions based on the law, without regard to a person’s beliefs. Such campaign attacks undermine confidence in the courts and demonstrate an unacceptable willingness to sacrifice the fundamental principle of impartiality for political gain.

No Montana judge should have the authority to decide whether Christians can remain attorneys, especially one who has embraced religious-based animus like Sandefur has.   Sen. Nels Swandal and I have filed a formal objection with the Montana Supreme Court to disqualify Sandefur from participating in any manner in any proceeding involving the adoption or application of Rule 8.4(g).

Although the original deadline to submit comments to the Montana Supreme Court concerning Rule 8.4(g) was December 9, the court has extended the deadline to April 21, 2017.  If you haven’t already submitted a comment to the court (or even if you have), I strongly urge you to let the court know how you feel about someone like Sandefur deciding whether Christians should remain in the legal profession.  Comments can be sent to the Clerk of Court at:

Clerk of the Montana Supreme Court
Room 323, Justice Building
215 N. Sanders
P.O. Box 203003
Helena, Montana 59620-3003

They can be mailed as well as faxed (406-444-5705) or emailed to <clerkofsupremecourt@mt.gov>

Homosexual extremists have won enormous legal and political victories these past few years, so why are they and extreme leftists like the ABA and Montana judges so intent on silencing Christians?  The answer can be found in one of Paul’s insights:

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life.

Christians bear witness to truths the fascist Left seeks to bury: no political or legal victory will ever truly legitimize same-sex marriages, transform biological men in women, or make Islam a religion of peace. That’s why the fascist Left seeks to destroy the livelihoods of everyone who refuses to accept its lies and remain silent – from Christian bakers to corporate CEOs to Cindy Brady.

Real Christians, and real Americans, in the thousands and in the millions, must begin resisting these kinds of threats to our constitutional rights.  If the Montana Supreme Court formally attempts to shove Rule 8.4(g) down our throats, I will openly defy it and urge other Montana attorneys to do so as well.

Will “GOP” AG Tim Fox Help Motl Jail Tschida for Exposing Bullock’s Taxpayer-Financed Affairs?

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**(See UPDATE below)

As I reported last week, Representative Brad Tschida courageously informed fellow legislators of an ethics complaint he filed concerning illegal gifts accepted by Governor Bullock and Commerce Director Meg O’Leary. This being Montana rather than one of the other 49 states, a criminal prosecution may not be far behind – not against Bullock, of course, but against Rep. Tschida for exposing Bullock’s corruption. Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl wasted no time explaining that that’s where things are headed. (starting at the 6 minute mark)

And, this being Montana, where separation of powers and the rule of law are considered meaningless tripe, a Democrat hack in the executive branch sees no problem issuing orders to members of the Legislature.

That the statute Rep. Tschida is accused of violating is blatantly unconstitutional means nothing to Bullock and Motl.

But Bullock and Motl have no authority to file criminal complaints.

This is where things get interesting.

Filing criminal charges would be “Republican” Tim Fox’s job. Regardless of which hack county attorney Motl presents his case to, the ultimate decision on prosecuting criminal cases rests with Fox because he has supervisory authority over all county attorneys. § 2-15-501(5), MCA

Fox hates conservative Republicans and loves sucking up to Democrats. The problem for Fox is that he needs to maintain his Republican façade if he wants to campaign for federal office in 2018 or the governor’s office in 2020 if Greg Gianforte loses, which Fox is hoping.  It’s OK to hate Republicans while pretending to run as one, but you can’t be too obvious about it.

Letting some hack Democrat county attorney prosecute a sitting Republican legislator for calling out Bullock’s corruption might be a little hard to stomach, even for the “Republican” “leadership” that runs the MTGOP and the Republican caucuses in the Legislature.  But, with Election Day out of the way in the next few hours, maybe Fox is more than happy to give Montana Republicans the finger and help put Rep. Tschida in jail. It would be a great way to appease the Democrats he’s counting on for the really big campaigns he fantasizes about.  With Fox calling the shots, perhaps the only good news for my client is that Blue Moo soap-on-a-rope, the kind that can be wrapped around your wrist and doesn’t have to picked up from the shower floor, is on sale.  Just in time for the holidays – or other times when you might need it.

 

  • UPDATE – 11/8/2016 8:30 a.m.  The Washington Post isn’t real impressed with Motl’s efforts to jail Tschida.

A few moments ago, I sent the following email to the 90+ legislators that Motl threatened yesterday:

Someone should point out to our esteemed commissioner that 2-2-136(4), MCA imposes a gag order on complainants (i.e. Tschida) and respondents (i.e. Bullock & O’Leary), not third-parties.  And then that someone should ask why he’s threatening to enforce an unconstitutional statute against 90+ legislators when the terms of the statute (even if it was constitutional) do not apply to anyone besides Tschida, Bullock & O’Leary?
I know where much of my caucus stands.  The interesting question is whether there are any Democratic legislators who are willing to stand up for the institutional integrity of the legislative branch against threats from the executive branch.  I’m pretty sure I know the answer, but I’ll be happy to be proved wrong.

 

 

Rep. Tschida’s Response to Motl’s Threat of Jail for Investigating Taxpayer Monies Spent on The Bullock-O’Leary Affair

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***(The following is an unedited email I sent earlier today to Commissioner Jonathan Motl in response to an email sent yesterday from him)

Commissioner Motl:

 I am responding to your email from yesterday, your threat published in the Great Falls Tribune to seek a “severe penalty” against my client, Rep. Brad Tschida, and your accusations made on KGVO and Lee Newspapers of criminal acts by Rep. Tschida.  Because you’ve published your threats and slander against Rep. Tschida in the press, and because your threats can be reasonably construed as being applicable to other legislators seeking to investigate acts of corruption by Governor Steve Bullock, I am copying my fellow legislators on this email.  

 Your accusations against Rep. Tschida are as meritless as they are outrageous.  Besides the obvious First Amendment problems created by your threats, the second sentence of § 2-2-136, MCA, also destroys your credibility:

The commissioner does not have jurisdiction for a complaint concerning a legislator if a legislative act is involved in the complaint.

 § 2-2-136(1)(a), MCA.

 “Legislative actions” include “actions of the legislature authorized by Article V of The Constitution of the State of Montana.”  § 2-9-111(c)(i)(b), MCA.  Included in Article V of the Montana Constitution is the Legislature’s authority to “establish a legislative council and other interim committees.”  Mont. Const. Art. V, § 10(4).  

Section 2-2-136(1)(a), MCA, will divest from you any jurisdiction to adjudicate a complaint against Rep. Tschida.  Sens. Dee Brown and Bob Keenan sent a letter on October 24 to Rep. Tschida and other legislators in order to obtain their support for convening a special committee to investigate allegations by state employees of misuse of state funds by Governor Bullock and his administration as well as retaliation against employees for blowing the whistle on this corruption.  

Evidence that might be pertinent would include the retaliation meted out against state employees such as former Commerce Department Bureau Chief Lonie Stimac.  Ms. Stimac had expressed concerns about an inappropriate relationship between Governor Bullock and Commerce Director Meg O’Leary.  Ms. Stimac subsequently suffered a $17,000 pay cut and a demotion.

Rep. Tschida responded to the letter sent by Sens. Brown and Keenan with his own letter confirming his support for a special committee.  He included additional evidence of misconduct by Governor Bullock, such as his illegal use of a state-paid attorney to defend him against the ethical complaint.  Other public officials such as former PSC Commissioner Brad Molnar retained private counsel to represent them in ethics matters.  Even former Governor Brian Schweitzer didn’t have the audacity to use a state attorney to defend himself against an ethics complaint filed against him by the Montana Republican Party.

Evidence of Governor Bullock’s illegal use of a state attorney to defend himself against ethics charges is directly relevant to the special committee being proposed by Sens. Brown and Keenan.  Rep. Tschida would not have been able to disclose evidence of Bullock’s misconduct in the ethics proceeding without also disclosing the existence of the ethics proceeding itself.  His letter therefore falls squarely within the exception to § 2-2-136, MCA, for “legislative acts” performed by a legislator.

You’re also wrong in asserting that “the general law” provides no exception to the confidentiality rule in 2-2-136, MCA.  The “general law” you’re referencing has a name – the Speech and Debate Clause of Article V of the Montana Constitution.  And it directly applies to Rep. Tschida’s letter to his fellow legislators concerning the convening of a special committee.  The Speech and Debate Clause “was designed to assure a co-equal branch of the government wide freedom of speech, debate, and deliberation without intimidation or threats from the Executive Branch. It thus protects Members against prosecutions that directly impinge upon or threaten the legislative process.”  Gravel v. United States, 408 U.S. 606, 616 (1972).  It preempts statutory confidentiality provisions.  See, e.g., Gravel, 408 U.S. at 616 (Speech and Debate Clause immunized senator’s disclosure in Senate sub-committee of classified documents that exposed government’s false statements to the public about the Vietnam conflict). The Speech and Debate Clause applies not only to speeches made by members during floor debates and committee hearings, but also to written correspondence between members concerning matters that are inherently legislative in nature.  See, e.g., Ray v. Proxmire, 581 F.2d 998, 1000 (D.C. Cir. 1978).

Your threats against Rep. Tschida are completely baseless and consistent with your unseemly habit of trying to extort conservative Republicans.  I’m still astounded at the phone call I received from you last year in which you demanded that Rick Hill pay you $200,000 (instead of returning it the MTGOP) or else face a penalty of $1.5 million – based upon Rick making campaign expenditures expressly authorized by U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell.  

So how’d that work out for you? I seem to recall Judge Lovell was none too pleased with your attempt to circumvent his order.

Rep. Brad Tschida and other members of the Legislature have both a right and a duty to investigate the executive branch.  Governor Bullock has turned the State Capitol building into his own personal brothel, complete with state-paid paramours in his Cabinet, state-paid attorneys handling his personal ethics violations, and gimps like you who attempt to penalize (or jail) anyone who objects.

Rep. Tschida is not impressed with your attempts to extort him.  And I don’t think the courts will be impressed, either.  Please find attached a courtesy copy of the complaint in the matter of Tschida v. Motl, (U.S. Dist Ct. (Mont.) Case No. 16-CV-00102), which we filed a few hours ago.

See you in court.

Matthew G. Monforton, Esq.
CA State Bar #175518, MT State Bar #5245
Monforton Law Offices, PLLC
32 Kelly Court
Bozeman, Montana 59718
Telephone: (406) 570-2949
Facsimile:   (406) 551-6919

From: “Motl, Jonathan” <JMotl@mt.gov>
To: “‘matthewmonforton@yahoo.com'” <matthewmonforton@yahoo.com> 
Sent: Thursday, November 3, 2016 11:41 AM
Subject: immunity issues

Matt — the statute is clear “The complainant and the person who is the subject of the [ethics] complaint shall maintain the confidentiality of the complaint and any related documents released to the parties by the commissioner until the commissioner issues a decision.”  2-2-136(4), MCA.

There is no exception to the confidentiality of ethics complaints anywhere in the statute and the general law cited does not provide any such exception.  I am forwarding a brief summary on this issue from COPP in-house counsel Jamie MacNaughton.

 Jonathan Motl

Commissioner of Political Practices

406-444-2942