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Montana’s “Republicans” Are Entrenching Felons Within the GOP Leadership

by Matthew Monforton Read Profile arrow_right_alt

Erick Erickson’s post earlier today details the sickening story of how the Speaker of the Georgia House, who is also an attorney, has been able to delay the trials of accused child molesters, sometimes for years.

The response from Montana’s RINOs?

“Hold my beer….”

Fake “Republicans” in the Montana Legislature, such as Sen. Steve Fitzpatrick and Rep. Frank Garner (pictured above) are pushing HB 318, a bill that would regulate the leadership of a party’s county central committees.  Specifically, HB 318 prevents those committees from expelling precinct committeemen and committeewomen – i.e., persons who control the internal affairs of Montana political parties – except in cases of death, resignation, change of residence, or felony conviction.  At least that’s how HB 318 read last week:

Last Week’s Version of HB 318

That was bad enough – and patently unconstitutional.  In its original form, HB 318 would have prohibited parties from removing precinct committee persons for almost any reason, including for endorsing the opposing party’s candidates – something Montana RINOs are prone to do.

In no other state have even Democrats attempted to give the government control over the internal leadership of a political party.  Montana would be the only one. 

But Montana’s fake “Republicans” are in the driver’s seat – so things have gone from bad to worse.  Yesterday in committee, RINOs and Democrats amended HB 318 to strike out the term “felony conviction.”  Now it looks like this:

HB 318 In Its Current Form

In other words, HB 318 in its current form would prohibit parties from removing precinct committee persons even if they receive a felony conviction.

To be sure, county committees – Democrat or Republican – should be able to include in their leadership, for example, a 40-year old woman who suffered a felony drug conviction 20 years ago and has since lived an exemplary life.  But parties should also have the right to expel persons convicted of embezzlement, sexual assault, or distribution of child pornography.

Montana Dems and fake “Republicans” are on the verge of stripping political parties of this basic constitutional right

None of this troubles Democrats, for whom there is never enough government regulation of private matters and little concern about the most unsavory of individuals holding Democrat leadership positions.

But actual Montana Republicans ought to be pushing back.

Montana RINOs claim HB 318 is needed because Montana law enables ex-felons to register to vote upon being released from state prison.

Left unanswered is why the Montana Republican Party, a private entity, must allow convicted felons to exercise power within the Party.  Every other association, including churches, unions, non-profits, and even government institutions like the courts and the Montana Legislature itself, have inherent authority to remove officers convicted of felonies.

One explanation for this power grab is that the RINOs are engaging in some perverse form of voter outreach to Montana’s ex-felon community.

But a more likely explanation is that RINOs are opening party leadership doors for allies who might have skeletons in their closets.

Or perhaps they are entrenching unsavory allies who have already infiltrated the Party.  Like Democrats, fake “Republicans” are not choosy about those with whom they associate. As I noted earlier this week, fake “Republicans” recruited scores of like-minded big government allies last year to run for GOP precinct committee positions in order to undermine county committees, which have long been more conservative than the Party leadership. 

Though Montana House Republicans are nominally a majority, the caucus surrendered its authority last month to fake “Republicans” and real Democrats.  So HB 318 will sail through the Montana House.

The MTGOP, for its part, has been disgracefully silent in response to the threat posed by HB 318 to the Party’s basic constitutional right of association.

Perhaps the prospect of embezzlers and registered sex offenders holding leadership positions in the GOP – and acquiring more positions – might be enough to spur grass-roots Republicans, county precinct leaders, and the Legislature’s rump conservative caucus to demand action. 

Montana Republican leaders have already fled the battlefield on issues such as taxes, government regulation, Medicaid expansion, free speech, and religious liberty.  It would be nice if they could at least be roused to defend their own turf.

*** UPDATE *** (2/16/2019 7am) The MTGOP has now spoken – sorta. This was emailed to a county GOP chairwoman. Good luck finding it on the MTGOP FB page, Twitter, or in a press release. Kinda like they want to be on record – but not in a way that might actually make a difference.


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