Headlines Fact-Check: Are Republicans Trying to Steal Montana's Public Lands?...

Fact-Check: Are Republicans Trying to Steal Montana’s Public Lands? We Rate it FALSE.

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On September 26, Montana’s Democrats, led by Steve Bullock, Mike Cooney, and Kathleen Williams, gathered to celebrate the Federal Government’s control of Montana’s public lands at a “National Public Lands Day Virtual Round Table.” Bolstered by support from Green Decoy groups – environmental activists funded by globalist dark money who masquerade as Montana sportsmen – the Democrats have continued a public misinformation campaign alleging that Republicans are trying to “steal” our own land.

At the event, Bullock claimed, “We have 10 million visitors that come to Montana each year, they aren’t coming for our Walmart, they’re coming for those things we all enjoy, the $7 billion dollars in consumer spending, 70,000 Montanans work in outdoor recreation.”

Bullock did not mention that his administration has placed web advertisements begging people not to come to Montana this summer because of COVID-19, crippling an already-hurting tourism industry. Neither did Bullock mention sealing off access to Cooke City and arresting travelers, which can only be accessed from the north through Yellowstone National Park, which the governor asked the federal government to close. Bullock did not mention the public facilities closed at state land trail-heads for fear that the Great Outdoors could give someone coronavirus. Bullock did not mention the greatest land restriction in U.S. history, the closing of public lands by President Barack Obama in 2013 to punish Republicans for demanding a balanced budget. Neither did Bullock mention the Gestapo tactics of the Bureau of Land Management toward ranchers and cattle-grazers who have stewarded and improved the land for generations.

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The issue should be a simple one; Montana’s land should be overseen and managed by the State of Montana, and not the Federal Government through the Bureau of Land Management or other Washington D.C. based bureaucracies. However, to hear Democrats tell the tale, managing our own resources is tantamount to “theft.” Montana voters should understand that the question isn’t complicated…Do our elected officials stand with Montana or with Washington?

Democrats have been claiming for several years that it is Republicans – and not Democrats – who are trying to steal our land. The claim is regularly made in letters-to-the-editor from various campaign supporters, political ads, and mailers from dark money Green Decoy groups.

Jon Tester spread the myth that Republicans want to sell public lands – rather than have Montana manage its own property – in his campaign against Matt Rosendale in 2016. Leftist Montana newspapers continue to print the outrageous accusations against Rosendale in their publications. The claim is even made on the Montana Democratic Party’s website. Steve Bullock’s campaign website contains the accusation against Steve Daines. The lie is repeated about Daines in the liberal mainstream media via letters-to-the-editor and op-eds, just as it is for Rosendale. The same liberal newspaper makes the claims about Greg Gianforte as well. And the Montana Democratic Party makes the same claim about Austin Knudsen.

Green Decoy groups have repeatedly frightened Montana residents with the claims, presenting themselves as Montana sportsmen when they are, instead, funded by international leftist organizations who want not only a federal control of Montana land, but a globalist control of Montana land. The below mailers were sent out by a fake sportsmen’s group during the last election cycle, making the same false accusations.

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The Democratic argument is as precise as it is invalid; by desiring that the State of Montana control 26,921,861 acres of Montana’s land currently managed by the Federal Government, Republicans are trying to “steal it.” More incendiary and far-fetched claims include allegations that Republican candidates – especially successful businessmen in the private sector – will then “subdivide” it and sell it to their friends.

The Montana Daily Gazette reached out to two candidates for office about the difficulty of counter-balancing the Democratic fake news about Republican desires for the control of our land and resources.

Theresa Manzella, who is running in Senate District 44 against Margaret Gorski, already had to defeat a leftist in her hard-fought Republican Primary, Nancy Ballance, who coalesced with the leftwing Solutions Caucus, a fake Republican group that recruits liberals to run as GOP candidates. Ballance and Manzella were both House members, and after defeating her colleague in the primary in a surprise upset, now has to face Democrat candidate Margaret Gorski.

Manzella told the Gazette, “The problem stems from the fact that we Republicans allowed them to steal our land, and they did it effectively. They ran with the idea the reason we want to transfer our lands from feds to state is so we can sell it to the highest bidder.”

Manzella said,”That’s not the case. The reality is, the state has proven itself to be a much better manager of better lands at a rate of 5 to 1.”

She went on to explain that state lands are far more often producing revenue for state coffers as opposed to federal lands, which face closure due to Democratic opposition to lumber, mining, and agriculture in Washington.

Manzella added, “From an economic standpoint, the state lands produce revenue like federal lands used to.”

It is interesting to note that the husband of Manzella’s Democratic candidate sits on the board of at least one Green Decoy group.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Fielder spoke to the Montana Daily Gazette about the Democrat-sponsored fake news agenda on public lands. Fielder is running for Public Service Commissioner for District 4 against Democrat candidate, Monica Tranel. Tranel, a “defund the police” extremist, is also propagating the myth that Republicans want to somehow subdivide and sell state lands to the private sector.

Fielder told the Gazette, “Every election cycle the Democrats try to fear-monger that some boogey man is going to sell off the public lands.”

When asked if she had ever heard a single Republican candidate suggest Montana’s lands should be sold to the private sector she said, “No, I don’t think that argument has ever been made. In fact, our state constitution prohibits the state of Montaan from acquiring federal land and making it anything but public. We have accepted over five million acres of public land from the federal government to benefit our state, and it has to be used for the purpose it was initially purposed for.”

Fielder is quite right. The State Constitution allows for transfer of management of Montana’s lands from the federal government to state government, but absolutely prohibits its sale for private use.

Article X, Section 11 of the Montana State Constitution says, “(1) All lands of the state that have been or may be granted by congress, or acquired by gift or grant or devise from any person or corporation, shall be public lands of the state. They shall be held in trust for the people, to be disposed of as hereafter provided, for the respective purposes for which they have been or may be granted, donated or devised.”

Fielder herself has promoted legislation designed to strengthen the language regarding the prohibition of the private sale of public lands, saying, “I carried legislation to prohibit the sale of public land and Democrats killed the bill. All these Green Decoy Groups were testifying against the very bills that will keep public lands public.”

You can watch the footage of Fielder speaking of the two bills on the subject she sponsored, defeated by the Democrats and Green Decoy groups, below.

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