TO: Matt Rosendale
FR: Roger Koopman, Montana Conservative Alliance
RE: voting record questions
DATE: May 17, 2014
As you know, Matt, there are many of us who want to believe that you are a verifiably sound and solid conservative — someone who will consistently cast a constitutional, less government vote in the US Congress.
We want to believe that you will indeed “put freedom first” (a slogan I used, by the way, in my own 2005 campaign!)
Many, however, remain troubled by your legislative voting record, which the highly reliable “TAB” index reveals as very middle-of-the-road (54% conservative) for both sessions in which you served.
TAB is a non-issue-specific rating system that uses 75 recorded votes to measure a legislator’s level of support for smaller government. All bills selected for inclusion in TAB turn on a more government / less government axis, making it far and away the most objective criteria for determining a legislator’s fundamental philosophy on government (and his degree of faith in a free society.)
While you have run a primary campaign appealing to the party’s most loyal conservatives, your voting record does not support the conclusion that you are necessarily the most conservative candidate in the race.
Objectively, there is little separation between you (54) and Corey Stapleton (51) – [Elsie Artzen’s average TAB score is 32] – leaving those voters who want to rely on more than campaign rhetoric in a real quandary.
We have been fooled too often in the past, and elected counterfeit conservatives who give us the “talk” while Big Government gets the action.
So this is a sincere appeal, Matt, to please help us out. I have had a great many people ask me to assist them in evaluating the conservative credentials of the three potentially worthy candidates. We know Ryan Zinke (TAB = 22) is an established BGR (Big Government Republican) and that Drew Turiano’s candidacy is not very viable. But of the three remaining “possibles,” we need a way to verify that you are what you say you are: the clear conservative choice, despite your relatively weak past record. I want to give you the opportunity to explain your record and to separate from the rest of the field.
Below is a list of 19 Rosendale votes, rated down by TAB, that I believe would be of serious concern to most conservative Montanans.
In each case, a significant contingent of well-known conservative legislators voted the opposite way. All were seen by the majority of our legislative friends as bad bills, generally because they either spent too much money or were not proper functions of government. Brief descriptions are included with each bill.
I would respectfully ask that you respond to each of these votes in one of two ways:
- Explain and defend your vote, justifying it from a conservative perspective.
- Recant your vote, explaining how your understanding of the issue may have changed or your philosophy on the role of government may have moved to the right, so that you would vote differently if the bill were before you today.
HB 4 — A massive supplemental spending bill that included many of the left’s favorite programs that, by prior agreement, were not amended into HB 2 appropriations. (48 Republicans voted no.)
HB 5 – Spends $49.6 million in new state building projects. (47 Republicans voted no.)
HB 6 – Spends $20.5 million on a Renewable Resource Grant and Loan Program. (32 Republicans voted no.)
HB 7 – Spends $4.4 million on the Reclamation and Development Grant Program. (21 Republicans voted no.)
HB 12 — Appropriates $6.5 million for expansions in the Medicaid program. (38 Republicans voted no.)
SB 20 — Creates state licensing and regulation of multi-level marketing companies. (23 Republicans voted no.)
HB 76 — Creates new governmental Office of Child and Family Ombudsman. (21 Republicans voted no.)
SB 93 — Agency-written bill, creating stricter regulation of mortgage industry. (36 Republicans voted no.)
HB 117 — Agency-written bill, expanding rulemaking powers and participating in national escrow licensing scheme. (40 Republicans voted no.)
HB 203 — Increases by $1.2 million, state spending on public libraries. (53 Republicans voted no.)
HB 287 — Stricter state enforcement of consumer protection laws; increases Unfair Trade Practices penalties when involving senior citizens, etc. (28 Republicans voted no)
HB 2 Amendment A18 — Adds and appropriates money for an in-house legal counsel for Commissioner of Political Practices Motl. (!!!)
HB 2 Amendment D10 — Increases biennium spending for Supreme Court $792,000.
HB 403 — Agenda 21-style bill, strengthening local government’s ability to create open space and cluster development. (19 Republicans voted no.)
HB 573 — Gives authority to insurance commissioner to study and recommend the creation of a statewide, all-payer health insurance database, and establishes reporting requirements. (33 Republicans voted no.)
HB 336 — Creates stiffer penalties on hunters for any wasting of game animals, including birds (up to 6 mos. in jail.) (60 Republicans voted no.)
HB 615 — Expands intervention of government in cancer treatment and research; creates groundwork for more regulation. (26 Republicans voted no.)
HB 360 — Making it a felony crime for a passenger to fail to report an accident, with penalties up to 5 years in jail. (Died in Sen. com.; 40 House Republicans voted no.)
SB 29 — Creates new mandatory state training program of all those serving alcohol. (67 Republicans voted no.)
We appreciate very much, Matt, your cooperation in this. We know you are very busy at the present time, but we feel having clarity on these matters will benefit all those who are considering giving you their vote. We plan to disseminate this memo very widely. We would ask for your answers by no later than next Friday, May 23rd.
THANK YOU !