Some donors in Montana's U.S. Senate race still don't disclose occupation

2012-07-22T21:00:00Z 2012-07-23T05:24:27Z Some donors in Montana's U.S. Senate race still don't disclose occupationThe Associated Press The Associated Press
July 22, 2012 9:00 pm  • 

HELENA – The latest campaign finance report for U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg shows he continues to receive a significant number of donations to his U.S. Senate campaign from people whose occupations were not disclosed.

Rehberg, a Republican, is challenging Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, and has criticized the incumbent for accepting donations from lobbyists. However, an Associated Press investigation earlier this year found Rehberg received about $20,000 in donations last year from three dozen lobbyists who did not disclose their occupations when they made the contributions.

The Rehberg campaign said at the time that the missing information was the result of incomplete records submitted by the donors, not an orchestrated effort by the campaign. Rehberg said he would encourage donors to disclose their occupations, and reported to the Federal Election Commission that his campaign was seeking the information from those who did not provide it.

However, campaign finance reports released last week showed the Rehberg campaign left blank the occupation for about one of every seven of its roughly 750 individual donors. By comparison, only about 1 percent of Tester’s 1,310 donors left the occupation blank.

Rehberg spokesman Chris Bond said the campaign is seeking the information and the records will be updated on subsequent campaign filings with the FEC.

“We’ve seen a huge boost in new supporters, and as with any campaign, including Senator Tester’s, not all of them provided their occupation,” Bond said.

The Tester campaign accused Rehberg of “hiding” donor information from voters.

“This is yet another irresponsible failure of transparency on Congressman Rehberg’s part,” Tester spokesman Aaron Murphy said.

FEC rules only require campaigns put forth their “best effort” in collecting data for campaign reports and there are no sanctions once a campaign attempts to gather missing information.

The Montana Senate contest is one of the most closely watched of the campaign season, and one where Republicans are hopeful of picking up a seat. Money has poured in. The latest campaign finance reports show Tester raised nearly $2 million in the last three months, nearly twice what Rehberg did. Both campaigns are flush with cash, however, with Tester reporting about $3.6 million on hand and Rehberg having $2.7 million.  

Rehberg is attacking Tester for supporting Obama administration policies and casting himself as more in tune with conservative beliefs favored by most Montanans. Tester, a farmer, is portraying Rehberg as a do-nothing career politician while touting his work on veteran affairs and other important issues for the state.

Neither candidate wants to be linked to Washington politics so accepting lobbyists’ money is a touchy subject.

The Rehberg campaign has pointed out many donors leave the occupation blank for their personal reasons. One example on Rehberg’s latest report was Leo Giacometto of Stevensville, who the campaign said is the father of a longtime associate of Rehberg’s dating back to the 1980s. Bond said the senior Giacometto is retired, perhaps explaining why he left the occupation unspecified.

And on Tester’s report, some donors clearly don’t take the occupation disclosure very seriously. One reported “Ninja” as occupation, another “Renaissance Man.”

Tester’s online contribution form instructs those without a job to report “none.” But an AP check of the 53 that reported “none,” did find some with jobs. The Tester campaign said it is up to the donor to state their employment and once they report something – even “none” – the campaign is not required to verify the information.

Rehberg also had some donors report “none” for employment. HELENA — The latest campaign finance report for U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg still contains a larger portion of donors with no reported occupation than his opponent, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester.

Campaign finance reports filed early last week show the Rehberg campaign left blank the occupation for about one of every seven of its individual donors itemized on the report. Only a very small fraction of Tester's donors left the occupation blank.

The Rehberg campaign also pointed out many of the unreported occupation come from small-money donors, and said it is not uncommon for a campaign quickly growing its donor list to have some incomplete records.

The Senate battle between Rehberg and Tester is one of the more closely watch matchups in the nation as both parties vie for control of the Senate.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(8) Comments

  1. Jon_w
    Report Abuse
    Jon_w - July 28, 2012 9:32 am
    ALL contributors need to be required to state their true occupation when making any donation to a canidate running for any elected office all the way down to the local level. If you dont want your name and job released...dont donate to a political campaign or any group thataccepts donations to promote any type of political canidate or couse. We the electorate deserve to know who wants to buy our vote and why.
  2. jrvc21
    Report Abuse
    jrvc21 - July 23, 2012 9:55 am
    MR. old farmer you are in an idiot shame on missoulian .....? this was wrote by an AP writer Cant believe the trolls here but hellgatenights always has something to say.
  3. old farmer
    Report Abuse
    old farmer - July 23, 2012 7:57 am
    There is no story here. I've made contributions in the past and was never asked, nor is it anyone's business what my occupation is. This is more mud slinging B.S. Shame on you Tester and shame on you Missoulian.
  4. Tronski
    Report Abuse
    Tronski - July 23, 2012 7:54 am
    @Hellgate Nights. This is great piece of PR spin on your part. 1. Accuse and try to discredit the writer. 2. Make counter claim that completely ignores the issue, by bringing in Obamacare. cue slow clap. This follows the standard model of 'Deny, Discredit, Make Counter Accusations"...which is could be your entire republican party platform, because you once again have failed to put forth an substantive replacements for 'Obamacare' or any factual data on how it has hurt the economy or country. Everything you say is pure speculation at this point, cause as far I know Obamacare has only helped my friends and has not increased anybody taxes or caused anybody to lose their job.
  5. hellgatenights
    Report Abuse
    hellgatenights - July 22, 2012 3:06 pm
    This is a poorly written snippet designed to troll for "Drama" seekers. Donors do not have to report their occupation.....period. No story here......but then you already knew that.

    This senate seat is not vulnerable in is already lost. No on in Montana has forgotten that Tester was a tool for the Obama party (Progressive, not democrat). He defied the voters by choosing Obamacare and the 27 new taxes that go with it.

    The ONLY way Tester can save his seat is to get his boss (Obama, not the voters) to sign a permanent "Waiver" for Montana and declare himself "Hoodwinked" by the Obama people.

    This will not happen......and Tester is gone. let this be a lesson to Montana voters, the majority of whom are not leave the reservation again, stick to you guns.
  6. dsrobins
    Report Abuse
    dsrobins - July 22, 2012 1:30 pm
    More typical Republican corruption on Denny Rehberg's part.
  7. Texas Susie
    Report Abuse
    Texas Susie - July 22, 2012 1:24 pm
    I am a small-money donor to other people-- not in Montana-- and I have had to disclose my occupation and my employer. That stuff about small-money donors not having to submit complete information is nothing but mis-information-- just a way to skirt the law.

    Thank goodness I can't be arrested for what I'm thinking of a certain candidate. I have a clear conscience!
  8. libertarian
    Report Abuse
    libertarian - July 22, 2012 11:45 am
    The candidates for the most part know their donors and there occupation. If you are a lobbyist giving money to both Rehberg and Tester, why would you want to disclose that relationship unless forced by law.
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