In case you missed the story over the Christmas break, it appears the campaign of former Lieutenant Governor John Bohlinger (D-MT) is raising new questions about Montana Democrats’ establishment candidate- current Lieutenant Governor John Walsh (D-MT).
Both men are vying for the Democratic nomination for the US Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT).
According to a report by KXLH-TV, the US Army Inspector General ruled that Walsh coerced employees under his command during his attempt to run for a national office with the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS). While NGAUS is a well-regarded organization, supporters may note the fact that Walsh wasn’t attempting to force those under his command to join the organization until he was running for a national office within the organization.
(Full disclosure- since many of you know that I served several years in the Montana Guard, it should be noted that I did not file and was not involved in this IG complaint.)
As RealClearPolitics.com notes:
The IG report said Walsh pressured other Montana National Guard leaders to join a separate group — the privately run National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS). At the time, Walsh was running for the NGAUS vice-chairmanship and was attempting to drum up support for his candidacy, according to the report.
It is also interesting to note that Walsh, who is receving significant backing from the Harry Reid and Max Baucus campaign machines, expressed support for the budget deal in DC that takes a whack at military pensions. After getting slammed by the IG during his last attempt to run for a national office, is Walsh now willing to follow Harry Reid’s marching orders and take a whack at military pensions in order to bolster another attempt at a national office?
The Bohlinger campaign is also seizing on the IG report against Walsh:
Key graph in Army Inspector General Report of Investigation on @JohnWalsh. #MTpol #MTsen #MTnews pic.twitter.com/rEaZgyIgji
— Bob Brigham (@BobBrigham) December 31, 2013
Lt. Gov. John Walsh disputes Army report he used Nat’l Guard general’s post for personal gain.http://t.co/sJ3dK6JgM1 #mtpol
— Chuck Johnson (@c_sjohnson) December 29, 2013
#ArmyInspectorGeneral report: JohnWalsh “improperly used his government position for private gain” #mtpol More on 530 news @kxlh @krtv etc
— Sanjay Talwani (@Sanjay_Talwani) December 27, 2013
The latest development in this story is the fact that former Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-MT), who has national ambitions of his own, is defending Walsh after the news of the report was leaked.
Why doth Gov. Schweitzer protesteth so much? Could it have something to do with the, as one reporter coined it, “personell-hell saga” scandal at Disaster and Emergency Services (DES) that erupted under the Schweitzer Administration’s tenure? DES Administrator Ed Tinsley is a former Obama superdelegate who was passed over for the US Marshal slot and then was appointed head of DES by Schweitzer and Walsh. Walsh was Tinsley’s boss at the time and is directly connected to the DES story.