With new details emerging surrounding a complaint filed on March 6 by Rep. Frank Garner (R-Kalispell), it turns out Montana Citizens for Right to Work, a group at the center of one of the biggest election scandals in Montana’s history, is right in the middle of the action. As it turns out, not only has the group failed to register with election officials, they have also been shopping for a more Right to Work-friendly candidate to run against Garner during primaries.
These efforts began shortly after Garner turned down a meeting with the group’s director, Al Chan, in February citing their connection to illegal activities in previous elections.
“It appears as if these groups are back and are trying to corrupt our election system once again,” said Garner in his complaint.
Chan hosted a meeting with members of the Flathead County Libertarian Party on February 28th. There he detailed his dislike of Garner and interest in financing a candidate that’s friendlier to Right to Work and other current GOP policy efforts. Kalispell resident Dan Nelson, who attended the meeting, then alerted Garner.
“[Chan] said he did not like Garner… he said he also had a personal beef with [Garner] and implied he had met him before and didn’t like him,” reads Nelson’s account. “Al did not specify what his issue was or why.”
Montana Citizens for Right to Work is an affiliate of the National Right to Work Committee. Neither group is a stranger to controversy, with both being implicated in the state’s largest modern-day election scandal.
A lengthy investigation led to a 2016 verdict that both parties were guilty of illegal third-party influence. Nine Republican candidates were also brought into the mix with charges spanning elections and primaries from 2008 to 2012. A lawsuit by a branch of Montana’s election oversight is actively pending against both groups as well.
Both organizations’ origins leave investigators drawing a blank, with employee salaries paid by the Conservative Action League, who’s only verifiable existence is a P.O. box in Virginia.
“These outside influencers don’t have Montana’s best interests in mind,” said Richard Dalton, business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 18 in Ohio. “They want what’s best for the wealthy elites and business owners cutting their checks, not what’s best for workers and families.”
Right to Work has increasingly been the center of controversy since the 2016 general election’s Republican sweep. As many states turned red, the GOP once again saw a chance to implement anti-union measures.
The bill impacts how much power unions have over membership and benefit disbursement. Under Right to Work, employees are neither obligated to join or pay dues, but receive full benefits regardless.
Advocates of the bill say this clears up money typically spent on bargaining, allowing business owners to invest back into the company and create a healthier business environment. However, in practice, Right to Work often has the opposite effect. As wages shrink, employee protections and benefits shrivel up and job growth crawls. The money stays at the top.
“It’s their state, and their vote,” said Dalton. “The people of Montana will make it clear they won’t stand for outsider influence or the policies they’re selling.”
For more information on Right to Work in Ohio, visit: http://protectohiosmiddleclass.org.
SOURCE: Keep Ohio's Heritage
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