©2017 Montana Land and Water Alliance
Now that the Special Prosecutor in the 2016 campaign-Russia investigation has named Mercury, LLC., as “Company B” in its first indictment, it is useful to remember the role Mercury LLC played in the attempt to convince the public that the CSKT Compact was in Montana’s interest. Key players in the Mercury-CSKT compact link are former representative Denny Rheburg, republican lobbyist and Mercury employee Mark Baker, the CSKT, and several more big-name corporate sponsors and supporters of the Compact.
After the defeat of the CSKT Compact in 2013, the CSKT and other compact proponents moved quickly to spend millions of dollars in advertising, brochures, telephone surveys, and “robo calls” to push the compact. The initiator of this effort, the CSKT, hired Mercury for a reported $2 million dollars to conduct this public pressure campaign. Constant TV advertising and radio announcements inundated Montana for over a year in this effort, all accompanied by very slick paper advertising.
Recall also that Mercury was the financial force behind the formation of “Farmers and Ranchers for Montana”, an organization that falsely claimed to represent all Montana’s farming community in support of the Compact. FARM then spent tens of thousands of dollars on inaccurate advertising through brochures, radio advertisements, and lobbyists. How many organizations and endorsements of the CSKT compact did they buy?
Now we find Mercury under investigation for its role in money laundering, bribery, illicit lobbying, and the sale of U.S. uranium to Russia. How much of the CSKT’s uranium resources and power generated at Kerr Dam is in play for foreign nations now that the Compact moves on to Congress, with Mercury still involved?
In August of 2012, Compact Commission Chairman Chris Tweeten sat back with his hands folded over the back of his head, saying “THIS is the way to do Indian water settlements. When this is passed, we’re going to invite Hillary Clinton out here to show her how its done”.
Ok, now we know “how its done”, aka, a compact of this magnitude—money, kickbacks, bribery, lies, lobbying, avoiding citizen questions, covering up the real issues, calling compact opponents racist and sexist, politicizing the courts…
There was always more to this compact than a supposed “indian water settlement”…and we now know that without the underbelly of corruption in Montana and in Washington, D.C., the real citizens of Montana would never have let this compact pass the legislature.
Time to pull the curtain all the way back!