Montana Secretary of State Linda McCullough has taken sides in an election that she is responsible for overseeing, and she may have used false information to make her point. The Missoulian recently reported on McCullough’s letter to the editor denouncing Republican candidate Corey Stapleton and promoting his Democrat opponent. Such an endorsement coming from the top official responsible for administering fair and impartial elections is a highly unethical move akin to a referee making a pre-game announcement declaring which team he hopes will win. McCullough, a Democrat, is notorious for self promotion — commonly using government resources to plaster flattering pictures of herself on official government web sites and documents. For example, this year’s official Montana Voter Information Guide features a full page picture of none other than herself on the front cover. The State’s official election web site features at least two pictures of McCullough on it. She even travels with a staff photographer — a tax payer expense many would agree is not necessary for her official duties but certainly gives her an advantage in any of her own future campaigns. McCullough’s office has also shown remarkable bias in the Voter Guide itself, refusing to publish factual information provided to her by the State Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Department about the high costs of I-177. But she did include an unsubstantiated claim from an animal rights group’s blog in support of I-177, an initiative backed by out of state groups which seek to ban trapping, and eventually hunting, on all public lands in Montana.
The Missoulian article displaying Secretary of State Linda McCullough’s accusations about Stapleton’s voting record and her own admitted bias in favor of his Democrat opponent can be read in its entirety here…
Secretary of State releases GOP candidate Stapleton’s voting records; he says they’re wrong | Montana & Regional | missoulian.com: missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/secretary-o…C6B04
“A background report on Stapleton’s voting record, released by him after a request to Montana GOP officials who use the i-360 proprietary voter database, shows him as having voted in every primary, general, special and municipal election back through 2006.
“I’ve voted twice a year like clockwork since I left the service,” said Stapleton, a former U.S. Navy officer, upon first learning of the letter Thursday morning.”If I missed an election I would be surprised. What I am surprised about is, what is this sitting Secretary of State doing? I would remind her she needs to remain impartial in an ongoing election.”
Lee Newspapers requested the voting record files going back to 2007 for all candidates running for statewide office. The file on Stapleton conflicts with both the account by McCulloch and the GOP report. Since June 1998, Stapleton was registered to vote on 28 municipal, school, state or federal ballots. He missed six votes-by-mail in that period, all city or school ballots.
McCulloch also wrote that “Monica Lindeen, Mr. Stapleton’s opponent has never missed voting in an election going back as far as records can be found. That’s the kind of person you want in the Secretary of State’s office.””