Here’s something. I missed last week courtesy of The Montana Post:

Yesterday, the campaign for Montana Attorney General Tim Fox accused Greg Gianforte, our current US House Representative and his rival for the GOP nomination for governor, of financing his campaign by insider trading capitalizing on COVID-19.

In an e-mail from campaign manager Jack Cutter, the Fox campaign laid into Gianforte:

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It’s an incredible claim, no doubt based on the research that shows Gianforte, rather than putting his investments into a blind trust as promised, has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past three months in companies hoping to profit from COVID-19, including the French manufacturer of Hydroxychloroquine.

I bring this up because just this week, Gianforte had no choice but to address this:

Gianforte entered politics after a career in the high-tech industry that made him wealthy, after founding RightNow Technologies and later selling it to Oracle in a $1.8 billion transaction. He’s been ranked the wealthiest member of Congress, with an estimated net worth of $135.7 million.

Gianforte’s campaign says insider trading would be impossible under what’s called a “blind investment agreement” that Gianforte and the company that manages his money entered into in June 2017, the day before he was sworn into Congress after winning a special election to the U.S. House.

When campaigning in the 2017 special election, Gianforte said he would place his assets into a blind trust to avoid any conflict of interest. His campaign said this week that Gianforte chose to go the route of a blind investment agreement because he believed it would offer more transparency about his holdings.

Transactions made by blind trusts do not have to be reported to the U.S. House, while those made under a blind investment agreement do. That reporting is where the Fox campaign saw the trades it called into question, including investments in NV5 Global, which provides consulting services related to COVID-19 risks; Roche Holdings, which is ramping up testing for the virus and a drug to treat it; Shionogi, which is trying to develop testing for the virus; and Sanofi, which makes the drug hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug that President Donald Trump has touted as a treatment for COVID-19.

The blind investment agreement requires all parties, which include Gianforte’s family, to not communicate or discuss specific transactions or investment decisions. Reports from the investment manager to Gianforte cannot disclose individual stocks, though the reports made to the U.S. House do.

Fox’s campaign contends that the trades, regardless of who made them, could result in profit for Gianforte, and that the companies, though they might have broader scopes beyond just COVID-19, engage in work related to the virus.

I pointed out that FiveThirtyEight ranked the Montana’s Governor race as the big toss up Governor race this year. Along with the upcoming Senate race, Montana is going to be a hot state for upcoming elections. We need to get ready to hold onto the Governorship here. Click below to donate and get involved with the Democratic candidate of your choice:

Mike Cooney

Whitney Williams

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