Archive for September 3rd, 2006

George Ochenski has an excellent column in this week’s Independent concerning accused fraudster and Burns’ fundraising chief, Pat Davison, and his history with the Montana Republicans.

It’s the usual sort of state-level corruption you see among high-level members of the Republican party. Remember energy deregulation? Or, as Ochenski so eloquently writes,

For the high rollers in the Republican Party, however, problems of almost any nature can be overcome by one simple method: Use political connections to rip off public resources to develop your own private wealth.

In Davison’s case, he was an investor in a would-be railroad line that would access cheap state-owned coal beds — the infamous southeast tracts that play so prominent a role in the energy rhetoric of Rehberg and Burns.

Rehberg:

It’s time for America to buy American energy. It’s time for America to buy Montana energy. We must increase our domestic energy production to ensure that we are no longer reliant on unstable, foreign sources. That means implementing the technologies we have in our toolbox to both explore for fossil fuels and ensure that our environment is preserved for future generations.

Burns:

We also have huge coal reserves right here in Montana that can be turned into energy and create jobs. Tapping that supply will put us on the map as an energy leader. That’s why the energy bill included research and incentives for clean-coal technology for electricity production and coal-to-liquids technology to turn coal into transportation fuels.

Get it? Both Gazette guest editorials call for federal funds to be invested in developing technology to burn cleaner coal and, one presumes, to develop a technology to burn coal with a high amount of sodium in it. And both lawmakers tout Montana’s fossil fuels — Davison & co’s coal fields — as a way to disburden ourselves from dependence on foreign fuel.

And coincidentally the plan would enrich their in-state fat-cat buddies.

There’s been some blogo-push-back over the Davison scandal, where folks claim he was a well-liked, well-respected citizen in Billings. That may be, but if what Ochenski writes is true, then it’s obvious this man has had a long-standing habit of dipping his fingers into the honey-pot.




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