Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Gianforte’s opponents are not telling the truth

by Rick Hill
| May 3, 2020 1:00 AM

In less than two weeks, ballots will be mailed to voters throughout Montana, and Republicans will have an important choice to make. After 16 years of single-party control of the governor’s office, we can win in November and put Montana back on the right track. I support Greg Gianforte for governor, because he offers a positive, hopeful vision for what we can achieve and where he will lead our state.

I’m disappointed, though, by some of the outrageous, false charges I’ve seen against Greg Gianforte – particularly by fellow Republicans. I’ve been involved in politics for a while, and I know it’s a full-contact sport. Candidates contrast their differences, and those differences should be based on facts.

Greg Gianforte promised us in 2017 that he’d be transparent and avoid any conflicts of interest as he serves us in Congress. Greg’s kept that promise.

Unfortunately, his political opponents are pushing false accusations about Greg Gianforte and misrepresenting the truth about Gianforte’s financial interests and how his financial decisions are made. In the process, Democrats in Washington D.C. and Helena are emboldened, and extreme progressive activists are celebrating the baseless attacks of one Republican against another.

So where did all this nonsense come from?

In late March, a liberal blogger wrote a story accusing Greg of profiting off the coronavirus outbreak. The blogger relied on flimsy, cherry-picked information from a Washington-based, liberal super PAC funded by George Soros.

The super PAC and the blogger worked tirelessly to push this false accusation against Greg. Few reporters took it seriously, because there’s nothing there.

Well, there was nothing there until Tim Fox’s campaign ran with the misleading information and upped the ante by accusing Gianforte of insider trading. Fox’s campaign took the dishonest charges by liberal special interests and recklessly expanded them with undocumented, unsubstantiated accusations.

Despite the fact that one Montana journalist reported “no red flags” with Greg Gianforte’s investments, the Fox campaign and Montana Democrats have continued to try and keep this misinformation campaign alive.

The problem with what the DC-based, liberal super PAC, the progressive blogger, and the Fox campaign are saying is that it isn’t based in truth, fact, or reality. To put it plainly, they are wrong.

After he was elected to Congress, Greg Gianforte kept his promise to us to be transparent and avoid conflicts of interest. He set up a blind investment agreement.

It takes control of his investments out of his hands. It turns control entirely over to an investment manager. It prohibits Greg from consulting with the investment manager. It ensures financial decisions are made without Greg’s knowledge or approval.

And importantly, it ensures public transparency by requiring that all investments are reported to the U.S. House of Representatives and disclosed to the public.

Greg’s decision to employ a blind investment agreement keeps a bright light shining on his investments – something a blind trust does not do. What Greg did is a very ethical and fairly common practice for public officials, and it also provides for the maximum amount of transparency. Greg’s opponents know that, too.

Greg’s decision represents the kind of good government, transparency, and accountability we desperately need in Helena.

Republicans will soon decide who our nominee for governor will be. We deserve to know the facts, which is why I’m writing this. Greg Gianforte’s political opponents have misrepresented the truth to gain a political advantage. Shame on them.

Former Republican Congressman Rick Hill represented Montana for two terms in Congress. He lives in Helena.