Radicals omit Ethics & Law in Tutvedt Attack

by Sandy Welch, 2012 Republican Candidate for Montana Office of Public Instruction

SandyWelch150On November 17, I explained why the claimed “censure” of Senator Bruce Tutvedt by the Flathead County Republican Central Committee (FCRCC) is an unsupported, inflammatory personal attack on Senator Bruce Tutvedt. However, on November 19, Jim White took the side of the Republican radicals who now dominate the FCRCC. Here is my reply to White.

The fact is Senator Bruce Tutvedt was active in fundraising for a political action committee.  This is perfectly legal, is not bribery, is not lobbying, and is not compensation.

Examine the reports

Let’s take a look at actions that are acceptable to and encouraged by the Flathead County Republican Central Committee.

Senator Verdell Jackson raises money for the ReHe PAC. He is vocal in his opposition to the water compact and spends time with candidates to “educate” them and get them to pledge their opposition to the compact and spends PAC money promoting them. Of the $54,606 dollars raised by the ReHe PAC, $20,000 came from Excellence in Voting and $20,000 came from the Flathead County Republican Central Committee. Both are political committees.

Excellence in Voting is a PAC whose chairman and only contributor is Ray Thompson, who made three contributions (2008 and 2010) totaling $170,000 and is a staunch opponent of the water compact.  Excellence in Voting and Ray Thompson individually make contributions during primary races.

These are the efforts that are all disclosed.

Now let’s look at what they consider to be misconduct.

Senator Bruce Tutvedt raised money for Montanans for Responsible Leadership (MRL), a PAC.  He is vocal in his support of the water compact since 2013 among other issues.  He raised $22,000 from the CSKT.

Montana BASE, a PAC, made expenditures in the 2012 primary, some for Tutvedt.  Tutvedt contributed to Montana BASE during a fundraising drive in 2013.  In 2014 Montana BASE contributed $22,679 to MRL, $1,000 to the Montana Republican Party and $21,887 to Stop Dark Money for the ballot initiative.

MRL made expenditures in the 2014 primary elections.

An inflammatory claim

Discussions among legislators, candidates, organizations and/or any members of the public regarding whether to support or oppose the water compact or any other issue does not change the nature of a sitting Senator raising money for a PAC.

The sentence, “Tutvedt all but guaranteed passage of the CSKT Water Compact if he were to be funded” is inflammatory.  No one can guarantee the future and there was nothing said that any actions would change if a contribution were not made.  There is nothing conditional in the Tutvedt quote, but the NWLN quote does make it accusatory to summarize in this way.

The Tutvedt statement relates plans and strategies on how to move toward a goal that the parties in the conversation share.  These conversations happen regularly on both sides of the issue in private and public conversations.

The test is when you protect the rights of those with whom you disagree

The fact is the Flathead County Republican Central Committee, who by party precedent and form should not have a preference during primary elections, does not like who MRL chose to support and who they chose to oppose.  They draw a distinction, not a legal one but a personal one, between PACs that operate during the primary and one that operates during primary and general elections.  We hear, ‘primaries are good’, only when their personal enemies are being attacked.

They do not support the Constitutional rights of freedom of speech and freedom of association for those who do not hold the same opinion.  The conclusion that a law has been broken is unjust as they are not the proper authority to determine such a thing.  They do not support the right to a jury.  Their actions betray their words.

2 thoughts on “Radicals omit Ethics & Law in Tutvedt Attack”

  1. Guess you can't trust any GOPer( ie, Sen Llew Jones, Rep Dan Salomon )


    For months we have been reading in the CSKT tribal council minutes about the hundreds of thousands of dollars the tribe is spending on a Compact Promotion Campaign. Not only did the tribe hire Republican lobbyist Mark Baker, they also retained Denny Rehberg’s marketing firm, Mercury, specifically for the purpose of providing media and social media campaigns in support of the water compact. We have expected that campaign would start shortly ahead of, and continue into the 2015 legislative session.

    In the past month, we have seen two or three new front groups established for this purpose, all intended to give the impression that farmers and ranchers and other segments of population throughout the state are in support of the Flathead water compact. While we will not go into the details, these organizations are no different than the phony front groups that are used to try to drive public opinion during elections by giving the public false perceptions about an issue.

    We tell you this so you can prepare for any onslaught of advertisements, telephone calls, and other efforts that might occur.

    Last night we started getting word that the campaign has begun through telephone calls that are using scare tactics (lawsuits, destabilized property values, decades of legal battles, etc), ultimately coming down to the question of “Do you agree that the State Legislature should pass the Compact next year as it is currently negotiated?”

    Do not let any of this public relations campaign rattle you. Understand where the money is coming from and that should tell you all you need to know about the agenda behind the false momentum that it will try to create.

    The 2015 compact will still be just as illegal and unconstitutional as it was in 2013. It is an advantage to us that the most blatantly egregious components of it are non-negotiable by the tribe, and continue to remain within the pages of the compact.


    Concerned Citizens of Western Montana has dedicated most of the past two and a half years to developing and providing factual information about our serious concerns with the proposed water compact for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT). Instead of responding to these concerns, the negotiating parties have simply doubled down by making little if any substantive changes to the compact and keeping essentially the same agreement alive for the upcoming 2015 legislative session.

    While we will continue our public education efforts, and to work with legislators in the hope that they will ultimately say no to this dangerous and destructive “agreement”, we also understand the necessity of taking far stronger action in advance of and in response to the state’s ongoing refusal to provide for an equitable division of waters, their continued insistence on expanding federal reserved water rights into something that is no longer recognizable, and their general failure to protect the existing and historical uses of water of its citizens.

    A very reliable source told us that highly placed Montana officials believe that once the CSKT water compact is ratified, Montanans will not be able to afford to sue to protect their water and property rights. Could this have to do with the fact that the compact has a mutual defense clause so that citizens will be forced to defend their rights against the deep pockets of the Federal Government, the CSKT and the state of Montana?

    The Montana Land and Water Alliance was organized by Concerned Citizens of Western Montana to:
    1) defeat the compact by whatever means possible, including pre-emptive actions, at the legislative level by continuing to inform and educate legislators about the major problems with it, and continuing research and publication, and

    2) take legal action on the compact should legislators ignore the legal and constitutional issues with the compact and pass it anyway.

    Our thanks to all of you who have provided us with the financial support necessary to achieve our initial funding goals. As successful as that effort has been, even more help is needed to continue this effort. For more information please check out our website.

    Eleven counties in western Montana are directly impacted, but the implications to the compact reach out to all of Montana and other western states. Please help us get the word out, and donate to our legal fund today. Your assistance is urgently needed and greatly appreciated.


    The clock is ticking down to the 2015 legislative session. Although Bruce Tutvedt was recently censured by the Flathead County Republican central committee for his activities related to the water compact and his PAC (Political Action Committee), we fully expect a lot of monkey business by the self proclaimed “RESPONSIBLE REPUBLICANS” starting very early in the upcoming session. Here are a few possibilities:

    1) An attempt could take place to change the rules concerning the number of votes needed for a blast motion to the floor, specifically for the purpose of making it easier to get the compact ratified in the legislature.

    2) In his talks with the tribe, Tutvedt indicated that the compact would be submitted to the legislature early in the session. This likely is being considered to pre-empt and prevent large numbers of people opposing the compact from

    3) At a recent compact commission negotiation session there was discussion of a companion funding bill. This indicates that power brokers might think that separating the compact from the funding will allow the proponents to initiate the compact in the senate rather than the house. This could be because Tutvedt and “his guys” in the senate think passing it there first will give it the momentum it needs to pass in the house.

    We are asking the public to keep an eye on any bills and activity related to the compact, because anything is possible concerning proponents efforts to ram it through the legislature. We have no doubt that the power brokers are counting on the fact that the compact will be difficult if not impossible to unwind once legislative approval occurs. In other words, the CSKT compact will be similar to Obamacare, and once the mutual defense clause in the compact is in full force and effect, it will be even more difficult and expensive to fight after the fact.

    We ask that you stay on call and be prepared to respond to our requests for trips to Helena or calls to legislators. We will need as many opponents as possible to let legislators know they are still engaged, and still oppose the water compact. Do not let the “renegotiated compact” language fool you. Chris Tweeten made it perfectly clear that not a drop of water, not one abstract would change during these renegotiations with the tribe. In other words the same egregious aspects of the compact will remain in the final document submitted to the 2015 legislature.
    Another local group opposing the water compact has developed a series of Cable TV ads that will be running across the state starting December 1st and running through mid-January. Please watch for them. They are called JUST SAY NO TO THE WATER COMPACT. More details forthcoming as it becomes available.


    Next Compact Commission “Negotiation” session scheduled for Monday December 1, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Missoula at 3720 North Reserve Street. Meeting notice can be found here.
    Concerned Citizens of Western Montana works very hard to keep up to date information and articles about the Flathead / CSKT water compact on our blog: Western Montana Water Rights

    Did you know that you can “follow” our blog, and each time a new post is added, you will be sent an email notification?
    To Follow the Blog: On the home page you will see a list of recent blog posts on the left. Scroll down just below the articles and you will see a section that says:

    Follow the Western Montana Water Rights Blog, http://westernmtwaterrights.wordpress.com/ via Email. Click the button that says FOLLOW and provide your email address. It’s that easy!

  2. Dear Ele, Thank you for your comment. I hope it does not violate the Western Montana Water Rights copyright.

    It is important to understand we have two distinct issues. One is the water compact. The other is the kangaroo court the Republican Central Committee pulled on Senator Tutvedt. These are two separate issues … even if the folks running the Central Committee connected the two.

    I plan to review the water compact issue in a few weeks.

    Regarding the action of the Central Committee against Senator Tutvedt, I am on the side of Sandy Welch and Senator Tutvedt in concluding the Central Committee acted unethically and unlawfully when it held a "trial" of Senator Tutvedt without even notifying him in advance so he could be present to defend himself.

    I don't care who you are. You have the right to be notified of any allegations against you and of any scheduled trial, and to be present to defend yourself.

    In fact, I am calling for all those who participated in the kangaroo court to resign their positions on the Central Committee. And if they do not resign, I hope the voters will recall them and replace them.

    In addition, the Committee's case against Tutvedt fails in law and legal logic. So all those who act as if the Central Committee's case against Tutvedt has meaning simply do not understand how to read legal documents. The website that supports the Committee's action is wrong.

    All those who support the Central Committee's action are hypocrites to their own so-called ethical, moral, and legal "principles".

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