In his last days in the Governor’s Office before the upcoming election, Steve Bullock has punitively targeted the business of a major Republican donor for not requiring face masks. It is not a coincidence; it is political payback and criminal corruption.
Under Bullock’s Emergency Order requiring masks to be worn in public spaces, restaurant owners are not required to enforce his policy for paying customers in the process of consuming food or beverages. Despite this, a restaurant has been given an injunction by the state for not requiring masks. That restaurant happens to be owned by a major Republican donor who has helped to fund Bullock’s Republican opponents.
Steve Bullock does not follow his own mask mandate and was caught on camera recently attending an indoor mass gathering – a high school ballgame – without a mask (photo left). The flagrant violation of his own mask orders came directly in between Facebook posts in which he lectured Montana to wear masks or else. And even though the Democrat Health Officer in Lewis and Clark County threatened to criminally cite organizers of the conservative Freedom Rally for not following the mask mandate, Health Officer Drenda Niemann has been silent on Bullock’s violation despite being asked to investigate it.
Democrats seem hell-bent just prior to the election to use every ounce of their power to punish their political opponents. In another article that wil be released this evening at the Montana Gazette, Child Protective Services has kidnapped the grandchildren of Republican candidate, Debbie Westlake. Westlake’s top legislative priority has been to reign in the power of Child Protective Services. This last-minute attacks on Republicans by entrenched Democrat officials is not an accident; they are trying to put the screws to conservatives using their bureacratic leverage.
The State Health Department – overseen by the Governor’s Office – has sought an injunction with the court to force Syke’s Diner to comply with Governor Bullock’s order. Syke’s Diner, most locals know, is owned by prominent and influential Republican business man, Ray Thompson. DPHHS issued the request for a restraining order against Thompson’s restaurant earlier today.
However, district court judges Amy Eddy, Heidi Ulbricht and Dan Wilson denied the department’s request for the restraining orders against Sykes Diner and instead ordered Thompason to appear in court in November for a hearing. Judge Amy Eddy scolded DPHHS, reminding them of the pertinent law that reads, “a delay would cause immediate and irreparable injury to the applicant.”
DPHHS argued that the restaurant was contributing to the spread of COVID-19 and wanted them closed down or comply immediately to their demands, but the judges didn’t buy it. Currently, there is no known spread of COVID-19 traceable to Skyes Diner. The claim that they are contributing to the spread of COVID-19 seems fanciful and imaginary.
DPHHS responded to their scolding by writing, “The court denied pre-hearing relief and set hearing dates. It’s DPHHS’s hope that these hearings never happen, and that we can work collaboratively with the businesses to protect their customers and staff.”
It’s no wonder that DPHHS hopes those hearings never happen, because sources inform the Montana Daily Gazette that Thompson – a man of considerable means, influence, and personal integrity – is preparing a stalwart legal defense and is considering possible civil and criminal complaints against Governor Bullock and DPHHS for what seems to almost every onlooker to be politically motivated.
Of Thompson and his restaurant, DPHHS claimed they are operating, “in a manner that constitutes a public nuisance and is injurious to public health.”
Again, there is no known spread of COVID-19 traceable to Skyes Diner. But according to the Flathead Beacon, “The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office would be enlisted to enforce the orders.” If that seems far-fetched that the sheriff’s department would serve as jackbooted thugs to compel citizens to obey a dubious mask directive, Montana Code 50-2-124 says that the Health Officer can compel local law enforcement to enforce their directives under the penalty of a misdemeanor. However, it does not say that the state’s DPHHS can compel law enforcement to serve as their henchmen.
Meanwhile, the Flathead County Attorney seems unwilling to comply with the Bullock Administration’s punitive witch hunt. County Attorney Travis Ahner acknowledged that Sykes Diner was referred to him for prosecution, but he has declined to act because no specific outbreak had been linked to those locations and said he, “wasn’t going to punish or try to sideline a business when they weren’t responsible for the spread.”
In fact, Ahner said, “I think we’re being singled out and I don’t see a rational basis for it.”
We know the rational basis for it. Governor Bullock is using COVID-19 to attack his political opponents. Likewise, Bullock has refused to issue CARE funds to the Crow Tribe to punish them for endorsing Republicans instead of Democrats.
What’s happening in Montana right now is shameful, as our Democrat governor is weaponizing his pandemic response to harass his political opponents. This should not be tolerated, and Thompson should sue Governor Bullock at Montana DHPPS into the next century.