©2016 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana

What?  Is there scandal in Montana involving water?  Say it ain’t so!?!!

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First some definitions.

From the urban dictionary:

watergate:

noun 1. The name of a hotel in Washington, DC.; (2) Used to refer to the events following the discovery of the break in of the Democratic headquarters in the Watergate hotel complex by operatives of the White House that lead to the resignation of President Nixon; (3) Used to refer to a political scandal. verb. to cover something up; lie.  e.g., “we’ve got to watergate this s*** right now!!!”

gate:
A suffix used to denote a political scandal. Its use originated with the Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration. Filegate and Chinagate are examples of Clinton era scandals.
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If you reviewed the videos from the WPIC meeting in the last post, four important, on-going scandals have emerged from the already scandalous saga of the CSKT Compact’s alleged passage:

  • Missing tape recording of potentially illegal but certainly improper CITT Meeting. The DNRC reported that the state held a Compact Implementation Technical Team (CITT) meeting on December 3, 2015.

During that meeting, there was an “equipment malfunction” and a large portion of the meeting was not recorded.  That unrecorded time, for which there are no minutes, included a discussion of the CITT action plan for the next several months in implementing the Compact.

What wasn’t mentioned in the state’s update, was the fact that the state did not publicly notice the meeting so that interested public would actually be aware that a meeting was taking place.  There were no notices in the local papers, only a one liner buried on the Compact Commission website.  A reasonable person might think the state and the CSKT didn’t want the public to attend.

Page 48 of the CSKT compact states the following about CITT public meetings and records:

a.  All regularly scheduled meetings of the CITT shall be open to the observation of the general public pursuant to State and Tribal open meeting laws.  Where there is a conflict of laws, the law that provides for greater openness to the public applies.

Strike one, CITT.  If meetings for year one are hosted by the CSKT, are we using their open meeting laws, if they even have any?

Page 48 of the CSKT compact goes on to discuss public records:

b.  CITT records are public records and shall be made available to the public for inspection under such reasonable terms and conditions as the CITT shall establish.

Strike two, CITT.  Are missing recordings part of the terms and conditions established by the CITT?

When asked about future CITT meeting notices, were told by a staffer with the compact commission that they will be noticed in the same manner.

Strike three CITT.  No one time oversight with the public notice for the meeting, they intend to make it difficult for the public to know when CITT meetings are being held.

  • Two State legislators, and the CSKT attorney, used a legislative committee meeting to publicly pressure  the Chief Judge of the Water Court to “tweak” or “fix” court deadlines.  In response to a perceived crisis set up by CSKT Attorney John Carter, two legislators who are not involved in the relevant ongoing court proceeding, openly called for the Water Court to change the deadlines for issuing preliminary decrees it had set in a court proceeding.  Further, the CSKT attorney offered to meet with the Judge outside of court proceedings to “assist him” in fixing the deadline that the tribe was unhappy with.

Let’s be clear.  The only crisis that exists is that the CSKT are unhappy that the water court did not give them a four year stay on water claims, because they do not want the water rights of non-Indians to be adjudicated until they have been awarded all of the water and control over it in the water compact.  In other words they know that everyone else’s water rights will be meaningless in the wake of their illegal and unconstitutional “agreement” with the state.

  • The CSKT Revealed their Efforts to Introduce the CSKT Compact to Congress and Pass it in the Lame Duck Session of Congress.  The CSKT attorney revealed that the pressure is on members of Congress, the White House, and the federal agencies Interior and Justice, to seek “agreement” to introduce and pass the CSKT Compact in Congress this session.

The CSKT want to escape the required  federal review for all Indian water settlements, including the Criteria and Procedures and the House Committee on Natural Resources water letter nor do they want committee or Congressional discussion examination of this Compact.  No surprise here that the CSKT  are pushing for the compact  despite litigation…they are more than comfortable ignoring Montana state law and disrespecting rulings of state courts.

  • The Elephant in the Living Room was the WPIC Committee’s Failure to even Mention on-going Litigation or to Prevent discussion of implementation.  If not for a member of the public calling Representative Bob Brown, the committee would have discussed the implementing the CSKT Compact without ever once acknowledging that the compact is not valid until there is a ruling in the FJBC case. Apparently lawless is as lawless does.

We’re calling it COMPACTGATE.

Compactgate:

noun: used to refer to the political scandal resulting from the alleged passage of the CSKT Compact and its subsequent implementation and push for Congressional approval without legal authority.

verb. to cover something up about the compact; lie.  e.g., on hiding the fact that they discussed issues related to court matters in a public setting but forgot to record it had a recording equipment malfunction during the key portion of the meeting– they know “we’ve got to compactgate this right now!!”

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