If you have some extra cash lying around that’s burning a hole in your pocket—the state legislature has got some good news for you!
You see–this session, a handful of Republicans and Democrats drafted a bill that would increase the amount that individuals and political parties can donate to local campaigns. Yep, that’s right. This bill doubles what political parties can donate. Political parties can spend up to almost $50,000 influencing our governor’s race, and almost $3,000 to elect our local leaders!
Here’s the thing — and this is very important–this bill almost didn’t pass. The first vote led to a tie, which would normally kill a bill.
But then, Republican leaders called for a do-over. Those folks were going to fight for their right to collect and spend more on campaigns ads and those mailers that clutter your house in the weeks before Election Day!
In the end, four legislators changed their minds and the bill finally passed. The four who switched their votes were Reps. Rob Cook of Conrad, Ross Fitzgerald of Fairfield, Frank Garner of Kalispell, and Missoula’s own Adam Hertz.
Hertz raised more than $29,000 for his 2016 campaign which is more than any of the other legislators who changed their votes for this bill. During that campaign, he received a lot of cash from big-time politicians, millionaires, and special interest groups like Montana Coal Council, Montana Building Industry Association, Northwestern Energy, Montana Farm Bureau, and Montana Petroleum Marketers Association.
So let’s be clear–this isn’t about you giving $25 to the campaign of your neighbor who decided to run for office, and who will listen when you tell her what you think the legislature needs to do. This bill’s only purpose is to allow the big players to buy more politicians. And then, they won’t really care about your measly 25 dollars.
It makes you wonder, if Hertz was so ready to change his vote for this bill, what does he hope to gain? Who is Hertz really listening to? The families in his district? Or corporations?
Montanans have already made it very clear that we don’t want more money pouring into our campaigns, buying our votes, and corrupting our representatives. We don’t want more expensive and uglier campaigns. We don’t want more negative mailers and commercials. We don’t want more divisive politics.
We want to put people in office that work for us — not for special interests and corporations.
So if Hertz and his cohorts are standing up for this bill, then they are not standing up for us.
Money may talk. But let’s make sure our voices talk even louder here in Montana.