By making speeches, accepting endorsements and traveling with state Democrats during the final week of the 2014 elections, former Democratic state senator and current Supreme Court Justice Mike Wheat may have violated the state’s Code of Judicial Conduct.
The hiring of women by Lee Newspapers in the same positions as men prompted Media Trackers to do an impromptu investigation into the leadership of other print newspapers in the major urban centers of the state.
A Billings pathologist who has lost his position with the state over a “problematic past,” is the ex-husband of the wife of former U.S. Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), a “friend” of former Montana Attorney General and current state Chief Justice Mike McGrath, and has donated to numerous liberal Montana politicians.
While the tragedy remains under investigation with officials saying that they still don’t know exactly why the man did it, the Billings Gazette headlined a Facebook post about the incident with seemingly irrelevant information from an Associated Press (AP) article that the man apparently owned books that espouse “constitutionalist” or “anti-government” beliefs.
Montana’s largest newspaper, the Billings Gazette, was quick to side with the governor on a plant to borrow $100 million for infrastructure spending, yet criticized the governor for wanting to borrow money for projects just last year.
Despite major problems with the Smarter Balanced (SBAC) testing system across the region, a recent decision by the Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) allowing school districts to withdraw from the Common-Core mandated program could put millions of dollars in federal funds at risk for the state.
Billings Gazette editor Darrell Ehrlick addressed last week’s massacre of cartoonists by Islamic extremists by declaring “I’m not Charlie” — a reference to the social media hashtag “Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie” in French) that has trended worldwide in the wake of the killings.
Montana Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock’s executive budget proposal for the 2015-2017 biennium would once again have the state rely on the federal government for more than 40 percent of state spending in the primary appropriations bill, HB 2.
Despite continued strong statements amount the influence of “money in politics,” Montana’s two most prominent Democratic office holders, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester and Gov. Steve Bullock, are both set to lead major big money national fundraising campaigns starting in 2015.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of Montana’s election results last week was the ease with which Republican U.S. House candidate Ryan Zinke dispatched his opponent, Democrat John Lewis. Despite strong establishment backing and a centrist campaign message, Lewis still lost by more than 15 points.