Steve Bullock on Government Reform



Elevate the issue of campaign finance

Mr. Bullock has vowed to elevate the issue of campaign finance and make Democrats competitive in the country's interior. He railed against "dark money" in politics.

Q: Are you open to expanding the size of the Supreme Court?

A: "I'm open to trying to say, how can we actually make sure that that court isn't reflective of politics?"

Source: 2019 "Meet the Candidates" (NY Times.com) , Jun 18, 2019

Unlimited corporate spending has impacted our elections

Bullock launches into his dark money pitch straightaway. He talks about the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling and how unlimited corporate spending has impacted our elections. "Think about 2004. Five million dollars of dark money, undisclosed money, was spent in our federal elections. Fast-forward eight years, and it was $300 million. A 6,000% increase in just eight years in dark money pouring into our election."

And that's why he tries to establish the stakes of that political spending as a central concern to the future of democracy: "If we wanna address all the other big issues in our electoral system, in our political system, if we really want to address income inequality, if we want to address health care," he continues, "you're not gonna be able to do it unless you also address the way money is affecting our system." This, above all else, is the Bullock pitch: You wanna do all this progressive work? None of it can happen until we excise the very root of the blockage.

Source: Buzzfeed.com on 2020 Democratic primary , Sep 29, 2018

Signed the Montana Disclose Act into law

That's when Bullock first started going after his political white whale: dark money in politics, which, in a series of twists and turns, led him all the way to the Supreme Court. Bullock's crusade didn't ultimately affect Citizens United, but it nonetheless positioned him for his 2012 run for governor. Once in office, working with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, he'd eventually sign the Montana Disclose Act into law, which requires any groups funding election-related communication to disclose their donors. Earlier this summer, he signed an executive order requiring all recipients of government contracts to disclose political spending; he features prominently in a dark money documentary, made by his high school classmate, currently making the indie circuit rounds.
Source: Buzzfeed.com on 2020 Democratic primary , Sep 29, 2018

Primary allows spending $667K instead of returning it

Gov. Steve Bullock picked up a primary challenger for the June 7 elections, a former Democratic legislator who donated to the governor's re-election campaign before deciding to run against him.

Bill McChesney's entry into the race allows Bullock to spend $666,642 in campaign contributions he has in the bank earmarked for the primary. He has already spent nearly $136,000 in campaign funds meant for the primary election. State law requires candidates to return the money if they run unopposed.

"Steve welcomes others into the race and looks forward to earning the nomination and then a second term so he can continue to move Montana forward," Bullock's campaign manager said in a statement.

Bullock's campaign has been singularly focused on defeating Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate and Bozeman tech entrepreneur, in November's general election. Gianforte does not have a primary opponent.

Source: The Missoulian on 2016 Montana gubernatorial race , Mar 11, 2016

Dark money makes our elections into auctions

I hope you will also help me preserve the integrity of our elections. In the century following the passage of the Corrupt Practices Act, Montana has benefitted from a strong citizen democracy. In the past several years, however, more money than ever before has been spent on political campaigns--both nationally & in Montana. As Attorney General, I fought to preserve our citizen democracy and stem the tide of this corporate money in our elections.

We have seen the rise of so-called "dark money" groups that target candidates, yet refuse to tell the voting public who they really are and what they really represent. They hide behind made-up names and made-up newspapers. They operate out of PO Boxes or Washington, D.C., office buildings.

Help me reform our laws, so that any organization spending money during the course of an election reveals the amount it spends and the source of its money. Together, let's guarantee that our elections will never be auctions, controlled by anonymous bidders.

Source: 2013 State of the State Address to Montana legislature , Jan 30, 2013

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Page last updated: Jun 24, 2019