Is HD63 Candidate Tom Burnett Breaking State Law?

by jhwygirl

This post has been corrected.

Political campaign robo-calls are illegal in Montana, per Montana Code Annotated 45-8-216. Maybe someone needs to tell Tom Burnett, Republican candidate for Bozeman House District 63…..or the marketing firm making the calls, Marketplace One, with a phone number of 319-294-7021.

That would be CHICAGO IOWA, folks.

Yep – Burnett’s even got himself an out-of-state marketing firm.

Chicago sure is making a lot of money off of Montana elections, isn’t it? (I’d strike this, but it’s still true. Guess I could add IOWA too, now.)

What makes this even most indefensible is that the robo-call sounds to have been recorded by Tom Burnett himself. He talks about “recent attacks from my opponents [plural] against my ‘record’.”

Record? Burnett has never held public office.

I haven’t much patience for breaking the law – especially from people seeking lawmaker status. Beyond that, breaking campaign law is pretty despicably low – what can Pomnichowski do? File a complaint? Political Practices has a backlog as it is. It’s two weeks before the election.

Burnett can’t even run a fair and legal campaign.

Tom Burnett can’t follow state law as a candidate – let’s hope Montanans don’t get stuck with him a legislator.

JP Pomnichowski is the incumbent for this seat, and Burnett’s opponent. I have a link to her campaign over there on the right. JP is a fine legislator, who has been endorsed by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. In fact, I’ve done quite a number of posts that have mentioned Pomnichowski. Check it out.


  1. I’m not real fond of discussing races I can’t vote in, but this one has a touch of personal element to me. Tom Burnett is a good ol’ boy, part of a network of Good Ol’ Boys, who write the rules such that they apply to others and not themselves. At the risk of being accused of religious bigotry for pointing out the obvious, his Mormon ties make it all that much worse. His “record” is that he is a Good Ol’ Boy, championing white male Mormon privilege. Even pointing out that he has no record is an attack against that. And how dare a woman challenge him, The Chamber of Commerce and any out-of-state interest for the seat that is rightfully his! Twice even!

    Having already said too much, I’m also not terribly big on making definitive political predictions, but I’ll make one here. JP kicks his ass, again.

    Still, he does play accordion for the Girl Scouts. If you read that and think it sounds creepy, don’t blame me. He posted that on his website and as a qualification for office.

    • He likes to take blog posts down, too.

      Some of his stuff is pure white male privilege…other is just plain pure unadulterated bigotry.

      I should post some of it.

  2. If he is breaking the law, then he should be reported – backlog or not. Yes, I realise that it is one week from the election but breaking the law is breaking the law.

    I have no stake in this race as I do not live in Bozeman but everyone in Montana has a stake in holding our candidates (and elected representatives) to the law.

  3. Pogo Possum

    We finally agree on something jhwyGirl. Robo Calls are illegal and if Burnett is using them he is wrong and should be prosecuted.

    Illegal robo calls also started in Missoula this weekend by Bryce Bennett who is running as a Democrat in HD 92. They also appear to be coming out of Iowa according to one person I spoke to who tried to trace it.

    Bennett’s robo call tells voters to vote against Don Harbaugh because he “doesn’t support education or social security.” Bennett must think voters are stupid because most people in the Rattlesnake and Seeley Lake areas of HD 92 remember Harbaugh is a former teacher, served as the local head of the teachers union and was principal at Hellgate and Sentinel High Schools.

    Harbaugh has been fighting for teachers, students and the education system in Montana longer than Bryce Bennett has been alive.

    The “doesn’t support social security” line is an obvious wedge to drive off senior voters. Only problem for Bennett is Harbaugh, as a social security recipient, has stated publicly many times he supports the social security system.

    Bennett’s robo calls are sleazy lies. As a “community organizer” and self proclaimed “the most qualified” and “the most experienced” candidate (these claims are laughable), Bennett knows he is breaking the law. Looks like Bryce Bennett is trying to start off his political career as a criminal.

    • Aw…come on Pogo – you & I have agreed on things in the past. But I won’t tell.

      I know Bryce. I called him on this…and I also called others to ask, and saying that Bennett is using robo calls is utter fiction.

      Jesus was a community organizer
      Ronald Reagan was a union organizer
      Jon Wilkins was a community organizer

      What’s wrong with organizing? I’ve seen those words “community organizer” in quotes so much, yet you’re touting your guy’s union organizing activities.

      In my world, knowing how to organize people in order to get things done is a good thing.

      Bennett isn’t doing robo calls. No one I spoke to has even heard anything like that. Bryce has a number of volunteers helping him with his campaign – and any calls going out are live calls.

  4. ayn rand

    What a bunch of BS pogo stick. Kendall the Van Dyke and Your friend Dennis McDoanald and Dennis Juneau have or are using robo calls. Where is the outrage. Oh forgot, they are liberals and rules or laws don’t apply.

  5. Pogo Possum

    Bennett is most certainly using robo calls. I have 5 of my friends who have received them. He has also hired a local “marketing firm” to make calls for him with the very same message. Here is the number on the Caller ID: 406-258-0500. When you call it all you get is a fax machine. One of the fellows I work with said the local marketing caller, when questioned, said she worked for a marketing firm hired to make the calls.

    Did a little research and found out others have been receiving the local paid for calls:
    http://800notes.com/Phone.aspx/1-406-258-0500
    http://www.everycall.us/phone-number/1-406-258-0500/

    If Bennett isn’t paying for the calls himself he knows who is.

    • Do you even know what a robo call is?

      • maybe if people on phone banks were theatrically trained to have a little more emotion and inflection in their voices as they read their little scripts it would not be so easily mistaken for a robo call…..

        how many can tell the difference between a robo call and a real call? especially when they hang up on the caller as i would do. i find the entire strategy annoying to anyone’s privacy. we haven’t had a land line in some time now and even when we owned one for the last 5 years we simply ignored it and never answered the phone due to the soliciting phone calls.

        if anyone from either party robo called me i would hang up on them in midsentence. i find the whole business of bothering people snakey. calls to go remind someone to vote are ok i guess but robo calls are just interruptive and isulting to me.

  6. Pogo Possum

    “Do you even know what a robo call is?

    I sure do.

    It is “. . . an automated telephone system, device, or facsimile machine for the selection and dialing of telephone numbers and playing of recorded messages if a message is completed to the dialed number for the purpose of:

    . . . . (e) promoting a political campaign or any use related to a political campaign. ” http://data.opi.mt.gov/BILLS/mca/45/8/45-8-216.htm

    As I said above, Bennett’s campaign has two types of calls going out to voters in HD 92.

    A private “marketing agency” is calling voters and the “live” person making the call reads a script telling lies about Harbaugh. The caller refuses to say who is paying them to call and when you try to call the number back that appears on the Caller ID you get a fax line. This is a common trick calling companies use to hide their identity. Try it yourself. The number is 406-258-0500. Several people did checks on the number and some sources show it is an unlisted private land line through Qwest.

    The second type of call Bennett is using is a robo call. People receive a phone call with a recorded message.
    One fellow told me the call was from Iowa but I don’t know how he made that conclusion.

    P.S.
    You are correct jhwyGirl, we do agree with each other at times.
    Also, glad to see you back on a regular basis on 4&20. It was getting a little stale without you. Hope all is well in your world.

  7. Pogo Possum

    The two best back to back lines from last night’s legislative candidate forum at the University of Montana Business School just sent to me by a couple of students who attended:

    Bryce Bennett: “ I promise you I will fight to stop the state from raising student tuition for University Students.”

    Tom Facey: “Any legislator who promises you they will keep the state from raising student tuition is a liar. The Board of Regent controls tuition in Montana not the legislature.”

  8. looks like this might explain the robo calls ….

    http://www.leftinthewest.com/diary/4437/dirty-tricks-afoot

    sounds like chicanery afoot in the politicsphere….

  9. Pogo Possum

    Spoke to a retired fellow last night PBear who received a “live” call from one of Bryce Bennett’s callers from Missoula. He said the message started out “Montana can not afford to elect Don Harbaugh because he doesn’t support education….”.

    The fellow said he asked the young lady if she was certain Harbaugh opposed education. There was a long pause and she said let me check then came back on and said “yes, I just checked, Harbaugh hates education and has never supported Montana’s school system.” This fellow then asked, well you know I worked with Don when he was a teacher and then Principal at Hellgate High School and even when he was the head of the teachers union in Missoula, are you sure he hates education. Another long pause then “let me check again” followed by “yep, I just checked Haraugh has never supported education in Montana”.

    He said it was both sleazy and hillarious at the same time for Bennett’s campaign to be making these claims.

  1. 1 Tweets that mention Is HD63 Candidate Tom Burnett Breaking State Law? « 4&20 blackbirds -- Topsy.com

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by jhwygirl and kev~!, Mike Wessler. Mike Wessler said: RT @kevhamm: Is HD63 Candidate Tom Burnett Breaking State Law?: http://wp.me/puC4-3LJ (via @jhwygirl) […]

  2. 2 The Robo-Calls Continue… « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] wrote a post the other day about HD63 GOP challenger Tom Burnett making robo calls in the Bozeman area. Thing is, not only are the calls automated and recorded, they’re […]




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