Steve Bullock

MT Senate: Ad hits John Walsh on ethics controversy

American Crossroads hits John Walsh

John Walsh, Montana’s newly minted Democratic senator, is being hit over an ethics controversy dating back to his time as adjutant general of the state’s National Guard in a six-figure ad buy from American Crossroads, a conservative political action committee.

“Max Baucus, a 35-year legacy of service,” says the narrator. “Gov. Bulloch could have chosen anyone. Why John Walsh?”

The ad cuts away to news footage from a late-December KXLH story on the controversy, in which the news anchor reports that “a Department of Defense report says that Walsh improperly used his government position for personal gain.”

The questions about Walsh stem from an August 2010 U.S. Army inspector general report which found that the then-adjutant general of the Montana National Guard had improperly used his office for “private gain.”

MT Senate: Walsh appointed to serve out Baucus’ term

John Walsh

Rather than appointing a placeholder to serve the remainder of Sen. Max Baucus’ (D-MT) term, Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) made a move on Friday that Democrats hope will Lt. Gov. John Walsh (D-MT) an edge in November.

Baucus had already declared that he wouldn’t run for re-election in 2014, creating an opportunity for Republicans to gain a seat in the Senate. But when the President Obama appointed Baucus to serve as serve as the next U.S. Ambassador to China, it was quickly hinted that Bullock would choose Walsh, who was already running for the Senate seat, to give him a boost against likely Republican opponent, Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT).

Sure enough, on Friday, a day after the Senate confirmed Baucus’ nomination, that’s exactly what Bullock did. Walsh is the next senator from Montana and he wants you to know how independent he is:

Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh (D) will be Max Baucus’s replacement in the Senate, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) announced Friday.
[…]
Bullock said when making his decision, he was looking for many of the same qualities he looked for in picking Walsh as his running mate in 2012.

“Today, My friend and my colleague embarks on a new mission. I introduce to you United States Sen. John Walsh,” said Bullock.

Walsh promised to work across the aisle as senator, emphasizing many of his campaign’s themes in his remarks.

MT Senate: Ethics questions dog Democratic frontrunner

Democrats had hope that Lt. Gov. John Walsh (D-MT) would give them a shot at keeping control of a Senate seat that seems poised to be taken by Republicans later this year. But Harry Reid’s hand-picked candidate is facing questions over an alleged impropriety that occurred when he oversaw the Montana National Guard.

With Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) slated to serve as President Barack Obama’s next Ambassador to China, it looked as though Walsh would get a boost in the race with an appointment to the Senate by Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT). But the questions over Walsh’s behavior could set him back in what needs to be an error-free campaign.

The questions about Walsh stem from an August 2010 U.S. Army inspector general report which found that the then-adjutant general of the Montana National Guard had improperly used his office for “private gain.”

“The [inspector general] report says Walsh improperly solicited other Guard leaders to join a non-governmental group, the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS),” reported Helena-based KXLH-TV. “Walsh wanted to boost Montana Guard membership in that association because he was running for vice-chairman of the group.”

The report described Walsh’s emails to colleagues as “coercive” and that he had “improperly used government resources,” including his federally-issued computer, to send emails on behalf of NGAUS. The news outlet points out that one of his subordinates described Walsh’s conduct as “very threatening.”

MT Senate: Baucus nomination could help Democrats keep seat

John Walsh

The appointment of Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) to serve as the next ambassador to China has many observers scratching their heads. But beneath the surface of the peculiar nomination, there may have been political and electoral implications under consideration.

Baucus had already declared that he wouldn’t run for re-election in 2014, creating an opportunity for Republicans to gain a seat in the Senate. In fact, most political prognosticators have favored the GOP to win the open seat, which is a must-win if they expect to take control of the chamber.

But when Baucus resigns from his seat after he’s confirmed to the diplomatic post, Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) will be able to appoint his replacement, but it appears that he won’t appoint a placeholder.

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Bullock will appoint Lt. Gov. John Walsh (D-MT), who is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s favored candidate and believed to be Democrats’ best hope to keep the seat. Walsh is likely to face Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT) in the general election.

Nathan Gonzalez of The Rothenberg Political Report noted that motivation “could be an effort by Democrats to give Walsh a leg up in the primary and general elections as a sitting senator, thereby giving him an opportunity to cultivate an independent image and raise his profile.”


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