Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Governor is Right: We have Plenty of Excess Money

I am beginning to think that Governor Schweitzer is right when he claims Montana has a huge surplus in our budget. Every day I read some report or another where Montanan taxpayer’s money is being lavishly spent on this or that. For instance back in September Montana Securities and Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen announced she was filming a documentary about investment fraud in Montana. The documentary is called Gold Diggers: Investment Fraud in the Treasure State and tells the story of people who have been swindled by scam artists. In her press release back in September Lindeen said;

"More than two hundred years ago, prospectors flocked to what we now call the Treasure State in search of fortunes," said Lindeen. "Though Montana's prospector days are long behind us, we have a new brand of gold diggers who prey on our trust in search of fortunes. Modern day gold diggers are scammers and con-artists who can steal a life savings in the blink of an eye."
"Education is the silver bullet when it comes to fighting fraud," said Lindeen. "The more Montanans know about their rights and where they can turn for help, the better they can protect themselves from modern day gold diggers."

Advertisment from Tuesday's HDN
 I noticed in yesterday’s local “News” paper that Lindeen is inviting everyone in town to a “Free” Prime Rib dinner at the Elks Club. Free food is apparently the lure used in an attempt to get a crowd to view the 50 minute documentary. Obviously the State budget is large enough to forget the old peanut butter and jelly sandwich if they can afford to spread around prime rib dinners like there will be no tomorrow. On second thought why are they buying anyone dinner even if it was only a sandwich which is not the case? It probably has nothing to do with the fact that Monica Lindeen is up for re-election this year and she just innocently has this special place in her heart for folks from Havre.

However further investigation reveals that these free dinners are being held all over Montana. In addition to the dinner in Havre Lindeen’s State of Montana webpage lists 16 additional free feeds to be held over the next couple of months.

Everyone better call our local republican representatives and let them know they are dead wrong when they say money is tight and we need to hold the line on spending. Apparently they have money to burn so let’s all think of some great project for Havre so we can get in on spending some of these surpluses before they are all used up buying everybody campaign dinners around the State. Maybe we need one of those duck ponds in Pepin Park like they have in Great Falls? Or what about a doggie day care? Surely something will come to mind.

**Update April 25 – Aaron Flint over at Northern Ag Network has posted a related story complete with an interview with Monica Lindeen’s Communication Director Lucas Hamilton.  Hear the recording of the interview here


  1. Did they post this ad at the soup kitchen? I bet they would like a little better fare and it is free.

    That is who should be getting these meals

  2. I am up for a dinner and a movie. We might even get some government popcorn and a soda

  3. You need additional selections on your reactions choices for stories like this one.

    Maybe one or two of these?


  4. It isn’t only the money for the dinner. Don’t forget the salary and expense of the people traveling around showing this. Why didn’t they just make a hundred copies of the documentary on DVD and mail them to every Senior Center to show?
    Waste and busywork like this says we have too many state employees

  5. How will Montana Securities and Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen accommodate those who only eat kosher or halal?

  6. That sounds like a discrimination lawsuit in the making Walter. I doubt the Elks is handicap accessible either but don’t be causing any problems to get this cancelled before I eat the free meal. I hope there is free alcohol

  7. At least they had the good sense to serve beef when coming to cow country. I bet they are having Ho-HOs for dessert

  8. From today's Tribune:


    The Havre Daily Corrector blog griped Wednesday about a free prime rib meal being offered by Monica Lin­deen, state commissioner of securities and insurance, before the showing of a film on investment fraud called “Gold Diggers.” The free meal will be May 3 at 6 p.m. at the Elks Lodge in Havre; other showings are scheduled around the state.

    The Corrector pontificated: “Obvi­ously the state budget is large enough to forget the old peanut butter and jelly sandwich if they can afford to spread around prime rib dinners like there will be no tomorrow.”

    “This is not taxpayer money paying for the dinners,” replied Lucas Hamil­ton, communications director for Lin­deen. Instead, the money came from a nonprofit group, the Investor Protec­tion Trust, which receives its money from criminals who either voluntarily donate to the trust or do so by court order, Hamilton said.

    He said the state received a $28,000 grant from the trust, to cover produc­tion of the documentary and 16 events around the state, with dinner costs included.

    It’s not the state paying for dinners in Havre. It’s criminals who have ripped people off.

    The Daily Corrector by mid-Thurs­day had yet to give the state agency’s side of the story directly, although it noted the Northern Ag Network inter­viewed Hamilton. Often it’s too much trouble for blog­gers to actually check out the facts behind what they are whining about.

    What’s the fun in that?

    1. What " Gee guy" isn't telling you is that this " trust" is funded with taxpayer dollars. So the auditor sends state money to the trust, then the trust "grants" it back to h auditor. Does anyone believe that means its no longer state money? Ha!

      My second point is about he subject matter of this video. It's a blatant promotional piece to help Monica Lindeen campaign. But guess who appears most in the video? That's right, her attorney --democrat Jesse Laslovich --who is running for attorney general. This would be a big story for some enterprising reporter -- if their are any left.

      Here are some questions the reporter should ask:

      1 who funds the "Inverstor Protection Trust"

      2 how much money has te auditors office sent this entity?

      3 how much has been sent to it since Lindeen took office?

      4 how much more since Laslovich came on staff?

      5- what is the dollar value of the screen time Lindeen and Laslovich appear in the movie-- if hey had had to purchase it in campaign ads of 30 seconds each?

    2. Please excuse the typos- not quite used to having no keyboard .

  9. Thanks Gee Guy

    We have taken The Tribune’s advice and presented another article about this campaign trip being held under the guise of investment fraud education. I hope both sides of the story are adequately represented this time around.