The knives are out for former Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-MT), now considering a bid for the US Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT). Now, the Executive Director of the Montana Republican Party is asking whether Schweitzer used his time in public office for personal gain.
The charge comes after a new report by The Washington Free Beacon pointing to Schweitzer’s investments in the Stillwater Mine and Continental Resources.
Here’s an excerpt from The Beacon piece headlined, “Friends in High Places; Schweitzer wins seat on board of company he intervened on behalf of during auto bailout.”
As the federal government bailed out General Motors (GM) in July 2009, the automotive company announced that it would kill a contract with Stillwater for palladium and platinum in favor of cheaper foreign sources.
Within two months of leaving the governor’s mansion, Schweitzer purchased 25,000 shares of Stillwater stock. He later joined the hostile takeover attempt of the New York hedge fund the Clinton Group. The hedge fund did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
The president of Oklahoma-based Continental Resources, which owns more North Dakota drilling acreage than any other oil company, met with TransCanada in 2008. Continental CEO Harold Hamm said “they weren’t interested” in hauling Bakken oil via the pipeline.
That all changed after Schweitzer went to bat on Continental’s behalf. He threatened to tie up the pipeline, which was slated to run through Montana, in red tape. At some point between December 2010 and December 2012, Schweitzer bought stock in Continental Resources, according to biennial financial disclosure forms filed with the Montana Commission on Political Practices.
Full statement from Montana GOP Executive Director Bowen Greenwood:
“Now that we know Governor Schweitzer took official action while in office that benefitted Stillwater Mine, Montanans have a right to know: Exactly when did Schweitzer first make contact with the Clinton Group? Was he still in office while that happened?”
He concluded, “Montanans do not want their next U.S. Senator to be the kind of person who uses public office for personal gain. We deserve an answer to this question before Schweitzer decides whether or not to run for the Senate.”