Open thread: Walter Schweitzer

I’ve had my say about John Adams’ article on the possible influence of Governor Schweitzer’s brother on state policy. But I don’t work in government, I don’t run think in political circles, I’m not familiar with Helena dealings.

This is your turn. It’s your chance to leave your opinion, in anonymity if need be. What do you think? Is Walt a pain? Is he unethical? Is this a real problem?

Let’s air this issue out; I want to hear what you’re thinking. I’m betting other people do, too.

For a little inspiration, here’s what commenter Reader had to say:

I don’t really care so much about the nepotism law’s letter as its intent, which I read to be ensuring that there are not special channels to people with power. That’s well-intentioned but it has had the effect of forcing Walt into an ill-defined, unofficial role without any check of public accountability.

Keenan has Walt’s e-mail records because Walt was doing it on the state’s dime when Keenan raised a stink about his work during the transition. It’s perfectly possible to see what he was up to at that time. That’s how it should be. Keenan used the nepotism law to score political points and sent Walt to the shadows but that’s not going to diminish his influence, just make it tough to find out what he’s up to. So, in a sense, Bob created the shadow creature he wants to slay.

That said, the governor and his brother need to smarten up about this. There is a strong tradition of disclosure in Montana and, if there’s nothing to hide, then Walt ought not act so combatively toward people asking questions. This might well have been a neutral to favorable profile with a big picture of him and the guv in brotherly arms on the cover and not just a forum for critics–many of whom (including the PSC commissioner Raney who was a big source) seem to think of themselves as allies of the governor though certainly a few wouldn’t look at themselves that way.

If everything is kosher here then the way this has been handled so far does not demonstrate the best political sense.

So…out with it!

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  1. rich

    i’ll stick with my comment to “the walter ego” too much intrigue for me.

  2. Reader

    So why so much defensiveness? Is this just an incredibly unsavvy reaction to what seems like it should be a reasonable question: who is one of the most powerful people in Montana state politics? It’s plausible enough that the governor’s good political instincts got short-circuited when someone brought up his family. But there’s only one other person I can think of who repeatedly refused to be interviewed when he knew he was going to be on the cover of the Independent and that’s John Morrison.

    I want to believe there’s nothing to this story. I just need a little help from the character whose voice never appeared in it.

    As far as what the article had to say about what Walt’s been up to…

    “Opper’s phone records, obtained from the state Department of Administration, reveal that the DEQ director called Walter’s cellular phone from his office two times in August and six times in September. He placed three calls to Walter in the two days before the deadline to submit documents for the BER’s September meeting, and three calls on Monday, Sept. 18, three days after the board’s meeting packets were mailed out.”

    I’m a big old policy wonk and love to have my input. But I, as a truly ordinary citizen, sure wouldn’t get that kind of responsiveness from a high muckety in the middle of a contentious rulemaking. It’s not illegal; it’s just squirrely.

  3. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!

    It’s a friggin’ hatchet job, pure and simple. All it does it make ME won’t to know more about this a**hole adams that wrote that piece, and what his motives are! It is SLANER!, pure and simple. And I think that people should be furious that THIS is what passes for “journalism” in our independent newspaper. It’s a hatchet/axe job. It’s a hatchet job by someone with an axe to grind. And that’s NOT journalism! The indy has reached new depts of depravity with this piece. They have with one article destroyed their credibility. WHERE THE HELL WAS THE EDITOR AND WHAT WAS HE THINKING! I doubt that I will ever be able to read that paper again with the same outlook. And as far as being “indepent”, it’s pretty damn HARD to be independent when you’ve got your head THAT far up Booby Keenans’ ass!

  4. Brad Tyer

    A word from the editor, if I may, since Larry wonders where where the hell I was and what I was thinking. I was right there in the Indy office, watching a thoroughly independent reporter do a damn fine job of what reporters are supposed to do: find interesting questions and do their best to answer them. As to what I was thinking, it was something along the lines of “hot damn, two weeks in a row of top-notch reporting on our cover, Jesus Jumping H. Christ am I proud of the work my reporters are doing.” That, and wondering why no other paper in the state, with more time, better access and bigger budgets was bothering to beat us to it.

    The question in this case was who is Walter Schweitzer, and that’s been a topic of surpassing curiosity in around the capitol for months, and it’s worth asking because, as the piece proves pretty convincingly, the governor’s brother wields an awful lot of power for someone nobody outside of Helena political circles has ever heard of, never mind elected. Not every investigative piece has to have a conviction at the end of it – they can also tell you something you perhaps didn’t know about the way your government works. Sorry if that strikes you as too tabloid, Larry, but your attack on the journalistic integrity of the Indy just doesn’t have any logic behind it. We’re not accusing here, we’re describing, and describing accurately. I can only imagine what axe you think John Adams has to grind. Oh, maybe he’s on Keenan’s payroll. And the Morrison people probably thought he was on Tester’s payroll. Hell, at least one of his sources thought he was on Walter’s payroll. Boy must be getting rich. Maybe I should cut his salary, since it’s my payroll, in fact, that he’s on.

    Not sure where you get the “depravity” and “slaner” (slander?) accusations, since you didn’t seem to have time, or maybe just the vocabulary, to include anything but unsupported vitriol here, but of course I have to disagree, and unlike you, I know what those words mean, and I challenge you to show me an example of either in the piece we published. And as for having our heads up Bob Keenan’s ass, I’m sure Bob Keenan would be curious to hear it. Besides, Keenan’s contributions to the Walter question are the oldest news in the piece. Democrat Bob Raney was a much more powerful source. Then again, maybe Bob Raney part of that well-known Democratic cabal out for Schweitzer’s head. Mabe we should have quoted more Republicans. No, wait, that would be suspect too. Maybe we should have just ignored it like everybody else. As the Schweitzers’ responses make perfectly plain, there’s clearly nothing worth talking about here. Seriously, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

    Whatever. I think it’s a bit funny all the panty-knotting over whether there’s any actual wrongdoing on the governor’s part. Perhaps y’all have us confused with judges or juries, but I stand behind the journalistic defensibility of trying to introduce readers to one of the most apparently powerful men in the capitol. Can’t see how it could hurt anyone to get a bit of insight into how things get done there. The fact that Brian and Walter Schweitzer, for reasons of their own, would rather not talk about it just makes the question that much more interesting. I hope we can find more answers somewhere down the line.
    But hey, Larry, if this is the kind of stuff that makes your blood boil, go ahead and re-up your subscription to the Missoulian.
    Best to all,
    Brad Tyer
    Editor
    Missoula Independent

  5. Steven Lohrenz

    Reposted:

    The nepotism laws are to keep people in power from giving relatives jobs on the taxpayer dime.

    The lobbying and anti-bribery laws are the ones that are supposed to remove special channels to the people in power. Is Walt a lobbyist? Should he be considered such? Is he trading favors with the governor? It hardly seems like it.

    But an advisor to the governor who is, as far as we know right now, voluntering his time to help out his brother, is what exactly? Patriotic? Noble? If he is getting help from his brother to live or if he is self supporting, is there even a conflict of interest?

    That he has to remain in the shadows just seems like a weird effect of the nepotism laws and the outing that was made by Keenan.

    I have to agree that ultimately, the Governor is responsible for policy decisions. But the question still remains as to where Walt is getting his money and that will determine whether this is a scandal or not (as Keenan would hope). But no nepotism laws are being broken nor is there any hint of lobbying impropriety so at this point it doesn’t seem all that controversial.

    Brad: It is nice to know more about how our government works. I think the piece more brings up a concern of the nepotism laws – because of them, there’s this shadow policy advisor to the governor. Maybe the nepotism laws should be changed? How could we bring qualified advisors like this into more transparent positions, but keep out the nepotism?

  6. Personally, I was one of those who refused to go on record and refused to trust him when Adams called me as a source. I have to confess I’m ashamed of that now. The more so because Adams is getting the kind of support from his editor that I never got in the old days. But then, Adams is also writing the kind of stories I never had the chops to write. Which is probably why I don’t do that work anymore.

    Part of me thinks I shouldn’t say this. There will be some who say that, if a conservative praises the independent, it proves the piece was a hatchet job.

    But here it is anyway: This was damn fine journalism of the kind that doesn’t go on in Montana’s dailies anymore. Our state already has more than enough reporters who believe that news comes in over the fax or e-mail as a press release, or on bad days you might have to leave the office to hit a press conference. We need, instead, more reporters willing to work hard and take risks to dig up a story that doesn’t want to be dug. We need more reporters like John Adams.

    And before anyone accuses me or him, because I refused to go on record and refused to trust him, not a damn word in that story is from me. That’s to my shame, but I think toAdams’ credit.

  7. cass

    The Independent has been doing what a real newspaper ought to do–investigative reporting without an agenda, and without the kind of partisan hackery you see on these blogs.

  8. Yeah, I have to second, third, and fourth what Brad, Neo, and cass had to say (esp. that bit about “partisan hackery”!), and praise John Adams for his work in Montana as an investigative journalist. He’s not partisan. This wasn’t a hatchet job. From what I understand Democrats are as worried for their Governor’s reputation as Republicans are wanting to blow this up.

    I said this before, but Adams is concerned with integrity in public office. Period.

    Now I don’t think the story is as important as Adams makes it out to be, but, like I said in this post, I’m not involved in any Helena dealings.

  9. Brad: You must be new around here. I haven’t seen anybody attempt to use that much logic and reason on Larry in ages. It will have zero effect, believe me. I already asked Larry on my blog to respond the charges leveled by Raney and Hedges, but here he is again, pretending that Keenan was the only person Adams talked to. I thought it was a damned fine piece of journalism.

    Still, I have to defend the mainstream media, since it pays my bills. We’ve done a lot of good reporting, too, darn it. Except that when we do (I’m thinking of the Lee State Bureau reporting on Abramoff, for example), people like Neomadison start sounding like Larry, accusing us of partisan hackery and even slaner and liber!

  10. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!

    Uh, mabye there’s a REASON that the mainstream media isn’t touching this. THERE’S NOTHING TO TOUCH! I should know. I mean, I’ve got an English degree. (and Spanish. Oh, and sociology. Oh, and I speak three languages too, Brad. How many do YOU speak?) I know a snowjob when I see it. Adams is writing fiction! And damn poor fiction. Slanderous fiction at that. The implication (without ANY supporting evidence) is that something illegal or untoward is going on in Helena. BUT WHAT? That the governor’s brother lives there, and confers with the governor? Scary stuff! That the govenor’s brother has an office in the capital? That one should be easy enough to prove. LET’S SEE THE PROOF! That some people don’t like the governor’s brother? Hey, I can’t relate to that one cause everbody LIKES me! That the governor’s brother seems to have lots of free time on his hands and has no job? Wow! You fellas have never been to the Hiline where ALL the farmers take the winter off, have you? I mean, just WHAT is the accusation here that actually has merit?! That Booby Keenan doesn’t LIKE the fact that the Dems whipped his hienie? That Booby HATES people that aren’t afraid of him? That Booby MISSES bein’ the cock of the walk, and not bein’ able to grease the skids for industry pals? Sorry, I don’t get it. Look, Jim Jensen is a good guy and a great enviro. (the best) Anne Hedges too. But my GOD, Schweitzer was NOT elected on the Green Party ticket! So, Anne, Jim, and yes, even myself, have an adversial relationship with the governor on eviro issues. That’s just life. That’s just the way it is. But we DO NOT disagree on everything. What it boils down to is that no thinking person (there’s that word again, critical thinking skills) like to see a hatchet job done on someone. Now, if Walt Schweitzer has done something wrong, illegal, or untoward, WHAT WAS IT?! I haven’t seen it in adams’ piece. All I’ve seen is accusations by disgruntled adversaries of the governor. And THAT’S why I say that this piece is not just silly, but rises to the level of “fair and balanced”. Can a name change be far behind? Maybe something like the Missoula Foxdependent?????? How bout it Brad? Oh, and Brad, let’s us know what the reaction is to your heroic piece. I’ll lay you money that it ain’t a’gonna be what you think!

  11. The perfect lesson in logic

    Uh, mabye there’s a REASON that the mainstream media isn’t touching this. THERE’S NOTHING TO TOUCH! I should know. I mean, I’ve got an English degree. (and Spanish. Oh, and sociology. Oh, and I speak three languages too, Brad. How many do YOU speak?)

    There is a minmum of at least three logicl fallacies here:

    A) Ad Verecundiam (in this case the writer himself)

    B) Avoiding the Issue

    and

    C) Avoiding the Question

    So maybe if you weren’t so busy learning how to talk you would have studied a bit of logic so you could have learned how to think.

    But you present me with the opportunity to use one of my favorite words for a second time in the last 24 hours. You, Larry, are a blatherskite.

    Now, have I committed the fallacy of ad hominem?

  12. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!

    Ah yes, Dave. I enjoy being insulted by you, Dave, because I never can figure out exactly what it is that you’re saying! You are the master at pointing out fallacies. So much so in fact that you’ve come to symbolize the fallacy. In fact, I’ve actually heard many people refer to you as a great big fallac symbol. Or SOMETHING like that. But seriously, Dave, why don’t you apply your vaunted logic to adams’ piece. I’d be interested to hear critique.

  13. Hey, wait! This is supposed to be a place to air out the Walter Schweitzer issues, not attack each other!

    Knock it off!

    I will no longer tolerate off-topic comments questioning fellow commenters’ intelligence or education, got it?

    Back to the topic, please.

  14. Seems to me that there is not enough known yet for an informed opinion on the issue of Walter Schweitzer. I think that Ada’ms’ questions are both appropriate and good, but until they are answered, or not, it’s a waste of time to speculate.

    Some of us still think we should know all (or at least most of) the facts before we convict or acquit. Without doing so we commit the logical fallacy of “jumpig to the consclusion.”

  15. … and please excuse my spelling. I cants type so good, but that’s OK, I cants read so good neither.

  16. As you well know, Dave, an English degree has precious little to do with logic.

  17. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!

    Sorry, Touchy. You are quite right.

  18. If the family member in question were Brian’s wife, would we be having this conversation?

  19. Really, Ed, I don’t think it’s fair to compare me to Larry. I admit I’ve had criticisms of Lee’s coverage of the Abramoff thing, though I don’t think I’ve posted much on the subject. And I’ve certainly sometimes criticised Lee’s pieces that read negative about Republicans. But I don’t think I’ve ever done so without a good logical case to put up. One with which one might disagree, I suppose, but at least logical.

    Truth is, at Republican gatherings, I’m your strongest defender — your meaning Lee’s, not yours personally. You don’t do enough political coverage to get hated.

    That’s part of why I’m nervous talking about Adams’ article — people will think I only call it unbiased if it’s good for Republicans. But I’ve been willing to question why (supposedly) pro-republican edits have happened as well.

    I’m a Republican, hard core. But I have at least a modicum of rationality on the subject of the media. So I don’t think it’s fair to compare me to Larry.

  20. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!

    Dave, “jumpig”?? I assume that you’re talking about a pastime that maybe our beloved sen. cornbread burns did in his youth in Missery when he was want for a date!! Or am I suffering a fallacy here?

  21. Larry, we’ve been scolded to stay on point. So I’ll say again that I approve of Adams’ quest to bring light to the “question.”

    It does seem, however, that “jumpig” should in fact be a word. It’s risky though – we might offend pigs.

  22. Brad Tyer

    Howdy Ed- Thanks for the kind words, and the link, and you are correct, new around here, here being 4&20, and I probably wouldn’t have jumped in if I hadn’t been called out so specifically. Or if I’d known about Larry.
    I’d also like to acknowledge your point and agree with it. Lee does a lot of good work. I don’t want to get into a mutual media critique or anything, because I’m sure you know Lee’s weaknesses with the same sort of painful intimacy that I know the Indy’s, and because I’m tired. Good people doing occassionally great work both places and plenty of stumbles. Still, you guys have such a bigger toolbox that I expect y’all to beat the pants off us more often than not. For us to beat Lee, on a story this interesting, hell, that’s rare enough to make me feel all proudlike. And – apologies – it’s just sort of our role to rub Lee’s face in it when we’re lucky or good enough to get a chance. It’s one of the consolations of being this low on the media foodchain: we can attack our betters publicly without fear of public reprisal. It’s a small pleasure. Heh.
    Larry, dude, you’ve got me completely flummoxed. Try as I might, and did, I can’t imagine a constructive way to engage you. So at the risk of being thought a pussy, I’m going to pass.

  23. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!

    Brad, I truly am sorry that you can’t fathom how BAD that adams’ piece really is. Some guy named NickD over at Ed Kemmick’s blog said it all probably better than I could have. Check it out. But let me suggest something here. Run adams’ piece by Ochenski and see what he says about it. If George says it’s a good story, I’ll accept it. But my main concern is that with just ONE story, you have alienated a good portion of your readers who will not view your paper the same way afterwards. I notice that you did the same thing once before with a story about the Mission Mountain Band. That story offended even ME and many others also. I simply don’t understand what it is that your paper is currently trying to do. Who is your target audience now? I am a fervent beleiver in alternative newspapers. But just WHAT is a story like this alternative to? Obviously not FOX news. As I said, just pay attention to any feedback you might get from this story. I will be amazed if your longtime readers like it. If you can truly find some illegality on the part of Walt Schweitzer, by God I’ll be the first to join your camp. For corruption is corruption. But sleazy innuendo by the likes and keenan and alan coalson doesn’t even rise to the level of a parking violation! Give us the blue dress!……not yellow journalism by yellowbellied Rethuglicans!

  24. Reader

    If longtime readers of the Independent don’t care for a story that raises the perfectly reasonable question of who is one of the biggest players in Helena–simply because the question might cast aspersions on a Democrat–then they are just shallow partisan hacks who pick up the paper every week hoping to have their preconceptions confirmed. I don’t believe that’s who reads the Indy. That’s not why I read it.

    And, with respect to the content of the article (the reason we’re all here after all), why won’t Walt take any questions on his role? If he is to exert power over policy, he ought to be more open about it. But that’s just ethics. On a practical political level, making it look like they have something to hide is just opening the door to questions about the governor’s integrity that might have no basis in fact. Without a factual response, though, all we are left with is the GOP e-brief alleging that Walt is being paid out of the governor’s constituency fund.

    This could have been handled better from the beginning; it’s not to late to simply shine a little sun on what’s happening.

  25. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!

    Yeah, that GOP e-brief! Now THAT’S what I call reliable information! Actually, I think that the Scweitzers should immediately STOP whatever they’re doing and respond to the GOP e-brief! Man! I can’t BELIEVE this guy!

  26. Reader

    I don’t hear any other response. Obviously, the e-brief is a long train of liquid brown. It’s disappointing, though, that the Schweitzers left the door open for them to make such an allegation by their defensive reaction. And just because it’ liquid brown doesn’t mean it don’t stink.

    Sorry if you’re appalled that I’m willing to look for information that rings true from any source rather than just suckling from the teat of my ideological fellow travellers. Actually, I’m not sorry. I’m appalled at the thick-headed and ceaseless pursuit of political advantage at the expense of integrity that seems to characterize most of the dialogue on political matters these days.

    What the Schweitzers should have done is talk to the most liberal paper in Montana when it asked some legitimate questions, raised mostly by Democrats (and I find it hard to believe Ochenski was standing athwart this story yelling halt but why don’t you ask him yourself in your deferential and genuinely inquisitive manner), about a subject that it might have been uncomfortable addressing but that merits a response for the simple fact that government should be transparent. Why does this being a Democratic administration force its allies into blinders? This is what turns off the independent voters who are moving to the Dems because of how poorly the Republicans have handled themselves while in power. Maybe being a wanker to your enemies is the only way to hang on to authority but it’s hardly the way to conduct democracy.

  27. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!

    Reader, I hear you and you’ve made my point. I have NO objections to your arguments at all. But my SOLE objection is to this article! I have no blinders on at all. THAT’S why I can see what color adams’ piece is. It is as liquid brown as the GOP e-brief. And THAT is my only objection to it. It is poorly written. It is poorly researched. It rises to e-brief quality. Blinders can have two sides. Look, I a Dem. Remember us? We’re the folks in the circular firing squads, remember. We know VERY well how to criticize each other. But what we won’t do is take cheap shots against one of our own! If Walt Schweitzer won’t speak to adams, TOUGH CRAP! Walt was not elected to anything! If Walt wants to help out his brother free of charge and someone doesn’t like it, TOUGH CRAP! If this is the manner in which booby keenan of Big Dork wants to attack the governor,LET’EM! But by GOD why does a paper like the Foxdependent have to aide him! Adams used a shotgun approach in his article. He figured that if he through out endless, incessant, inordinate innuendo, that somehow it would change the color of his piece. It didn’t. It’s still liquid brown. So, dear reader, please understand, it’s pisspoor reporting that I object to. That’s all. Booby Keenan of Big Dork couldn’t have written it in any finer color himself!

  28. OK...

    So, Larry, you said “Run adams’ piece by Ochenski and see what he says about it. If George says it’s a good story, I’ll accept it.”

    Here’s Ochenski’s column from today’s Indy:

    The fear factor
    by George Ochenski
    Helena reacts to “The Walter Ego”

    Last week’s Independent cover story by John S. Adams, “The Walter Ego,” has stirred up a hornet’s nest in the state’s political circles. In the article, Adams relates his attempts to find out just how Gov. Schweitzer’s brother Walter has been influencing the formulation of state policy from his rather ill-defined, but definitely high-level, position of power in the governor’s office. On the surface, only a scant few individuals were willing to go on the record to be quoted for the story. But off the record, in e-mails and blogs, a considerably larger mass have tales to tell—tales they won’t tell in public, however, because of fear that if they do, they will pay harshly for crossing the governor.

    For those who may have missed it, Adams’ story basically asks two questions: Who is Walter Schweitzer and what does he do? The obvious answers are that Walter is the governor’s brother and he is somehow helping his brother govern the state of Montana. But where the tale gets interesting is in the questions raised by politicos on both sides of the aisle who have had dealings with Walter.

    For instance, Bob Keenan, a Republican state senator from Big Fork, turned over some 500 pages of e-mails sent by Walter from a state computer during the last legislative session. Because Adams cited the e-mails in his article, some have accused him—and the Independent—of being in cahoots with Republicans to trash the Schweitzer administration. To be sure, Keenan was the leading critic of Schweitzer during the last Legislature, but for the most part whatever message he may have had for Montanans was lost in his shrill, almost desperate delivery. The e-mails Walter sent from the state computer, however, were real enough, and raised credible questions about possible violations of Montana’s nepotism laws, which are intended to ensure that relatives of elected officials are not rewarded either with cherry positions on the state payroll or undue influence on state policy by virtue of their blood relation to elected officials. The issue was serious enough that Walter’s use of both a state office and state computer were halted.

    Counterbalancing Bob Keenan’s role in the story was a series of quotes from Public Service Commissioner Bob Raney, a Vietnam veteran who was awarded the Bronze Star, has been a dedicated hard-core Democrat, represented his home town of Livingston for 16 years in the Legislature, and personally raised thousands of dollars in the Paradise Valley for Schweitzer’s campaign. Obviously, if Adams or the Independent were shilling for the Republicans, it is impossible that such a dedicated and honorable Democrat as Raney would have had anything to do with it.

    The same scenario plays out in the story between Alan Olson, a Republican state representative from Roundup, and Anne Hedges, who works for one of the state’s longest-standing environmental groups, the Montana Environmental Information Center. While Olson has been one of the Legislature’s most vocal and enthusiastic supporters of massive coal development, Hedges has battled and continues to do battle over any proposal to turn the state into an energy colony for the nation. It’s fair to say that Olson and Hedges are on totally opposite sides of the energy debate, and any suggestion that they could possibly be colluding to discredit the Schweitzer administration is ludicrous.

    Then there’s the deafening silence from the mainstream press. So far, not a single Montana political reporter or paper has touched the story, even though anyone who frequents the halls of the capitol will freely admit that those reporters have known about Walter’s actions for a long time, and have been contacted by numerous knowledgeable individuals from industry, public interest groups, and both sides of the political aisle. But like so many of those Adams talked to for his story, no one wants to go “on the record” for fear of retribution from the governor’s office. Hence the mainstream’s silence on the issue continues unabated.

    So far, the closest thing to a mainstream news discussion of the role, the authority and the funding of Walter Schweitzer’s actions in the capital have come from Ed Kemmick’s City Lights blog, which is affiliated with the Billings Gazette. If you go to the posting, at http://www.billingsgazette.net/ h/blogs/citylights/?p=1799, you’ll find half a hundred comments reflecting the wide variety of opinions about just what is going on with Walter and how it relates to the function of open government that Montanans both expect and are guaranteed in our Constitution. The commentators run the gamut from those who claim to have lost their job because they clashed with Walter to those calling for full and open disclosure by the administration to those convinced that the story must be some kind of a pre-election “hatchet job” by the Indy. But given that neither Walter nor Brian Schweitzer are up for election, it’s tough to see how an article questioning Walter’s role can be construed to have much to do with the upcoming election.

    Personally, I’ve never had any dealings with Walter Schweitzer other than a casual chat when he was picking up some kegs at the local brewery for a political fundraiser one day. That said, there is no question that he is ubiquitous in the capitol and his actions have filled the halls with whispers from the widest possible spectrum of people directly involved in the formulation of Montana’s policies. The key word here is “whispers,” however, since those who do business with the governor are loathe to rile him or dim their chances of success in the policy arena by openly questioning Walter’s role.

    If anything is evident from Adams’ story, the blog comments, and the e-mails flying around the capital that the public will never see, it is the need for, at a minimum, full disclosure and clarification of Walter’s role. Without that, the climate of fear that permeates the issue will continue—and Montanans deserve better than to be afraid of their own government.

    What say you now, kralj?

  1. 1 mtpolitics.net » What About The Other Brother, Redux

    […] I’d like to say that it’s ignited a firestorm, but, really there’s only been one person who’s been rather vocal in calling the article as a hatchet-job. […]




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