As many of you know, Lisa Bullock belonged to a firm called Public Knowledge.
That firm studied Obamacare and how it’d impact the state.
To make these studies possible, or at least easier, the feds gave out grants.
How that worked is that the state insurance auditor would get those grants and then hand them off to firms that could study the issue.
One of those firms was Public Knowledge.
Back in February 2012 Lisa Bullock gave a PowerPoint Presentation on the impacts of Obamacare.
You can get that PDF right here.
That PowerPoint Presentation was presented on February 24, 2012.
The Montana Auditor got a $1 million Exchange Planning grant from the Obamacare program. That grant went from the feds to the State Auditor, Monica Lindeen.
She got that grant in 2010.
On April 7, 2010, Mike Dennison had a story up in the Missoulian that said Bullock “reiterated his stance that he won’t become one of the attorneys general suing to invalidate the [Obamacare] law.”
He’d originally made the decision not to sue to stop Obamacare in Montana on March 23.
Did the grant come into that decision?
Is there a conflict of interest here?
Remember, Bullock wasn’t governor then – he was Attorney General from 2009 to 2013.
That’s why things get interesting.
Isn’t it the Attorney General’s job to make sure that no laws are broken?
I’m sorry, but having your wife get a $1 million grant from the State Auditor while you’re the Attorney General sounds awfully funny to me...especially when you're going to rule on that issue.
I guess it sounds funny because it’s probably illegal.
Legislatively, things heated up in 2011 during the session.
Legislative bills HB 124 and HB 620 had wanted to establish those healthcare marketplaces in the 2011 Legislature.
Republicans didn’t like that idea and sent SB 228 to the governor instead.
On April 20, 2011, the Montana Senate “approved a measure which would require the Montana Attorney General to file suit against the federal healthcare reform bill.”
The vote passed 28 to 22, though some disagreed with it. “It is my opinion that this is in fact a power grab by the Legislature,” Browning Democrat Shannon Augare said. “We are dictating to the Executive Branch, the Attorney General’s office what to do.”
That bill would have prohibited the exchanges and Schweitzer vetoed that in April 2011.
Despite that, in April 2011, Attorney General Steve Bullock had to decide if he wanted to sue to stop Obamacare – as Montana Republicans want – or allow it to go through by not suing.
He chose not to sue. I believe he did that because of the $1 million grant that enriched his family.
Montana Democrats – or at least the elite and entitled of the Party – have no problem with this corruption. In fact, they’re quite hypocritical about it.
Speaking of Jason Priest in January 2011, (a man I have no love for), MT Cowgirl asked about a “conflict of interest” for “sponsoring a bill that could reap financial benefits for the medical debt collection industry he comes from.”
Now, I despise that kind of corruption, the kind that has you passing legislation that will enrich you.
When it comes to the Bullock’s, however, they don’t even have to bother with that step.
Really, all they had to do was talk with Lindeen, make sure that grant got to Lisa, and then hope to hell no one asked any questions about a ‘conflict of interest’ due to Steve’s job as AG.
Montana Democratic Party Executive Directory Ted Dick said that questions were coming up about “Priest’s financial stake in the attempted repeal of the health insurance reform law and his likelihood of financial gain” from it.
Do you think Ted Dick knew how silly he’d eventually look, decrying the GOP’s corruption while Bullock was doing the same right behind his back?
Now, the question is…did Lisa Bullock get her $1 million grant before or after March 23?
After all, it looks awfully funny to have your husband say that Montana really does need Obamacare after you just enriched yourself from a federal grant that, let’s face it, wanted to see Obamacare in the state.
So I went ahead and called up the State Auditor’s office today around 4:40 to see if anyone could tell me when that grant was issued to Public Knowledge.
I got a machine and left a message. Personally, I don’t think I’ll get a response.
I feel that way because it seems there’s a conflict of interest here.
Lisa Bullock could have rejected that grant. Steve Bullock could have taken himself off this case.
Both chose not to.
They took the money and made a decision based upon it.
Folks, that’s corruption.
Worse, it could be illegal.
I don’t know – I’m not a lawyer.
Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl is, however, but we know he won’t be investigating the man that appointed him.
I’m willing to bet no one.
No one will investigate this story. It’ll be swept under the rug and forgotten.
Is that good for Montana?
Sure, you might agree we need Obamacare – that’s fine. But do you agree with corruption and enriching yourself while in office?
I don’t, and I don’t care what the issue is - we can’t have that.
I hope you feel the same.