Scott Sales

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Scott Sales is an American politician of the Republican Party who is the Minority Leader of the Montana House of Representatives.[1] He had served as Speaker of that body. In the 2007 legislative session, along with then-House Majority Leader Michael Lange, he led the opposition to Governor Brian Schweitzer's budget plan. Sales is from Bozeman and has been known as a staunch fiscal conservative in the legislature.

In 2014 Sales was targeted by the Commissioner of Political Practices (COPP) for campaign finance abuse. The charge was part of a larger, statewide scandal involving "dark money" and the Western Traditions Partnership (WTP) (which later became the American Traditions Partnership which was deeply involved in the Citizens United case to the US Supreme Court). Sales was alleged to have mailed his campaign literature for a 2010 County Commissioner Primary race through a mailing house in Park County (Sales was running for Commissioner in Gallatin County) that had long standing ties to WTP and was run by Christian LeFer and his wife who were activists for WTP. The "dark money" scandal was covered in a nationally broadcast documentary on Frontline called "Big Sky, Big Money".

At the core of the complaint against Sales (and roughly a dozen other Tea Party affiliated candidates) was the use of "wife letters"; formulaic campaign letters ostensibly written by the candidates wives, but actually created by LeFer's mailing company from questionnaires distributed by LeFer and completed by the candidates or their wives. In addition to this cookie cutter coordination (in itself illegal) the mailings went out at costs well below the industry standard (also illegal).

A sitting Montana Senator, Sales negotiated a settlement with the COPP in late December, 2014. This allowed him to avoid the cost of litigation and, had he lost the case, his potential removal from office. Sales agreed to pay a $500 fine. Sales had no explanation for why he chose to take his mailing business to another county (when mailing services existed in Gallatin County) and stipulated that he used LeFer's mailing house without any effort to "shop" for the best price. [2]

Electoral history[edit]

  • 2008 General Election, HD 68
    • Scott Sales (R) 61%
    • Robert Brastrup (D) 39%
  • 2006 General Election, HD 68
    • Scott Sales (R) 60%
    • Laura Obert (D) 40%
  • 2004 General Election, HD 68
    • Scott Sales (R) 64.7%
    • David Tyler (D) 35.3%
  • 2002 General Election, HD 27
    • Scott Sales (R) 54%
    • Art Carlson (D) 46%

See also[edit]