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Thread: Complaint filed against Gary M. - MSSA - MT HB 228 - Self Defense Bill

  1. #1
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    Complaint filed against Gary M. - MSSA - MT HB 228

    Under Activism.

    Complaint filed against GARY M. - MSSA! - HB 228
    I was given permission to post ALL of this information by Gary M.

    This 'complaint' is a crock of dung!

    This is for the old readers here ( and the NEW readers that heard about this issue when I called into a radio show discussing this 'complaint', reading this MSSA email over the air, discussing other pro gun and other pro liberty issues.

    Yours in liberty,

    Montana Shooting Sports Association Member
    Armed and Female
    Montana Territory for now...

    Sender: Gary Marbut-MSSA <>
    Subject: Complaint filed against me
    Date: Thu, 21 May 2009 10:23:58 -0600

    Dear MSSA Friends,

    You may be interested to know that a complaint has been filed against me by Jim Smith, the lobbyist for the Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (MSPOA). Smith's complaint to the Commissioner of Political Practices asserts that I illegally lobbied the Legislature, and violated Montana law, because I was not registered with the Commissioner as a lobbyist.

    Pasted below are two letters to the Commissioner in response to the complaint, one letter I WILL send (out in the mail today), and another letter I really wanted to send but decided not to. These letters will explain the situation.

    I consider this complaint to be an attack by the MSPOA, and an ill-considered attempt to harass, intimidate, and maybe silence me (and via me, you).

    Best wishes,

    Gary Marbut, president
    Montana Shooting Sports Association
    author, Gun Laws of Montana

    On MSSA letterhead
    This is the letter I DID send to the CPP

    May 21, 2009

    Mr. Dennis Unsworth
    Commissioner of Political Practices
    P.O. Box 202401
    Helena, Montana 59620

    Re: Complaint by Jim Smith

    Dear Commissioner Unsworth,

    I have reviewed the complaint filed by Jim Smith of the Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association accusing me of illegally lobbying without being registered with your office.

    Specifically excluded from the definition of a lobbyist is any individual who receives payments from one or more persons that total less than the amount specified under Mont. Code Ann. 5-7-112 in a calendar year. I received no payments for my activities on behalf of MSSA before the Montana Legislature. My time was donated. Thus, I am not a "lobbyist", as that term is defined in the Montana Code.

    I request the complaint be dismissed.


    Gary Marbut


    This is the letter I DID NOT send (but I really wanted to).

    DRAFT - unsent

    May 21, 2009

    Mr. Dennis Unsworth
    Commissioner of Political Practices
    P.O. Box 202401
    Helena, Montana 59620

    Dear Commissioner Unsworth,

    I am in receipt of your letter of April 29, 2009, referring to the complaint filed against me by Jim Smith who is a lobbyist for and represents the Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association and the Montana County Attorneys Association.

    Thank you for giving me a chance to respond to this complaint.

    Smith's complaint alleges that:

    1) I appeared before legislative committees speaking in favor of or opposed to various legislation as a representative of the Montana Shooting Sports Association,

    2) I am not registered with your office as a lobbyist, and

    3) By doing so I must have violated some laws.

    Points 1) and 2) are correct. Point 3) is a mistake on the part of Mr. Smith, made for reasons I will explain.

    The Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA), is, as the name states, an association of people interested in specific topics. Because MSSA is, in fact, an association of individuals, its activities are protected by the freedom of association that the people have reserved to themselves from government interference in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (which applies to the states through "incorporation") and in Article II, Section 3 and Section 7 of the Montana Constitution.

    I am not an employee of MSSA. I am an elected officer - the President. I am also Chairman of the Board of Directors. These are both volunteer positions. I often characterize my political activities in Helena as those of a "citizen advocate." I do not hold a paid position with MSSA. I am not compensated, at all, by MSSA for the time I spend in Helena attempting to advance the interests of MSSA members and other citizens of Montana.

    In that capacity, I am exercising the freedom of speech the people have reserved to themselves from government interference also in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (also incorporated as applicable to the states), and Article II, Section 6 of the Montana Constitution. Not only am I exercising free speech, I am exercising political free speech, a category of free speech that has been most highly protected and prized speech by the courts and our society.

    And, in addition to the fact that I don't get paid by MSSA (or anyone else) to advocate for citizens in Helena, I forego significant personal income because of the time I spend traveling, spend in Helena, and spend communicating with legislators and MSSA members. I lose money at this; I don't make money.

    On most of the occasions when I testified before committees of the 2009 Legislature, I reported that I was speaking also on behalf of the following organizations and their members (more freedom of speech exercise):

    Montana Shooting Sports Association, Gun Owners of America, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Weapons Collectors Society of Montana, Montana Rifle and Pistol Association, Montana Women's Shooting Association, Western Montana Fish and Game Association, Big Sky Practical Shooting Club, Custer Rod and Gun Club, Big Muddy Practical Shooting Association, Richland County Sportsmens Club, Bigfork Gun Club, Samuel Whitamore Memorial Range in Three Forks, Gallatin County Campaign for Liberty, MSU Young Americans for Liberty. For the record, none of these organizations paid me as much as one dime for the time I spent in Helena.

    I cannot locate any laws in the Montana Codes Annotated that require a citizen, or a citizen operating as a volunteer, to register with your office and pay a fee to be allowed to offer an opinion to the Legislature or legislators. I believe no such law exists. If such a law did exist, it certainly would not long be tolerated by the courts.

    Smith is also correct that I did send emails to MSSA members across Montana about issues of interest before the Legislature. If it matters, I sent those messages from my personal computer to people who have asked to be on the MSSA email information list, yet another exercise in free speech. Since I was reporting on events in Helena, that exercise may also fall within the reserved freedom of the press.

    The real issue is that Mr. Smith is a sore loser. He's feeling snitty because the measure MSSA supported, and he unsuccessfully opposed on behalf of the MSPOA and the MCAA, was approved by the Legislature and signed by the Governor. HB 228 is now the law in Montana, despite Mr. Smith's recorded but unsuccessful opposition.

    When testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in opposition to HB 228, Mr. Smith asserted that his employers "pay me well" for lobbying. Others may judge whether that payment is well spent by his employers. More important, it appears that Mr. Smith simply cannot comprehend that ordinary citizens will commit time and effort simply to assert important principles, principles enshrined in the Montana Constitution. I guess it takes a person of principle to recognize another. Mr. Smith, on the other hand is a mercenary - a hired gun - in his lobbying endeavors, and apparently assumes that anyone else in the same arena must be a mercenary too. That, of course, is a seriously flawed assumption on the part of Mr. Smith, but personally consistent with the equally flawed assumptions he voiced about HB 228.

    Mr. Unsworth, this complaint filed by Mr. Smith is clearly frivolous. It is unfortunate Mr. Smith chose to waste your time with it. He has my phone number. He could have called me to clear this up. Instead, he opted to attempt to use the power of a government agency to harass me (not a surprising choice for Mr. Smith). We will leave for another day the question of whether or not he has slandered me or attempted to damage my reputation. However, if you have a mechanism available to sanction people who file frivolous complaints, I request that you apply that mechanism to Mr. Smith.

    Mr. Unsworth, having had considerable experience in arena of public policy formulation, here's what I suspect is actually going on: Mr. Smith persuaded his employers, MSPOA and MCAA, that HB 228 was a dangerous bogeyman demanding opposition in order to impress those employers with need to freely spend the "good money" those employers pay him. Having broken the MSPOA and MCAA lance against the windmill of HB 228, and having recklessly squandered the finite political capital of MSPOA and MCAA in this losing effort, Smith must now claim that he was operating on an unfair, unlevel playing field in order to justify to his employers why he failed to destroy the windmill he'd sworn was actually a fierce dragon. I suspect that Smith is being called on the carpet by his employers for having wasted their influence on HB 228 when other legislative issues were practically more important to them. Blaming me for his failure in judgment and ability is Mr. Smith's excuse to his employers. The complaint filed is simply the formalization of that excuse.

    Frankly, this reminds me of the time the Montana Human Rights Network accused me of being a racist, coincidentally the very same week that MSSA endorsed Dr. Alan Keyes for President and when Dr. Keyes was a guest in my home. Like that incident, if this weren't so venal it would be hilarious.

    Sincerely yours,

    Gary Marbut, President

    Cc: MSSA Board of Directors
    MSSA members
    Organizations listed on Page 1
    Associated Press
    Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
    Chairman, House Judiciary Committee
    Chairman, Senate Legislative Administration Committee
    Chairman, House Ethics Committee
    __________________ __________________
    "America is at that awkward stage; it's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards."
    Claire Wolfe
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  2. #2
    Regular Member sccrref's Avatar
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    Send them both.

  3. #3
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    Sent the second one to Smith as a "CC:" See if that gets a rise out of him:celebrate

  4. #4
    Regular Member Sonora Rebel's Avatar
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    "I request the complaint be dismissed."

    Request HELL... I'd DEMAND it be dismisssed and counter sue the SOB for harrassment, malfeasance 'n whatever else applies..

  5. #5
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    Send them both, and then SUE. And if it were me, for big MOOLAH.

    Oh, I can see it now, "Jim Smith Foundation for the Advancement of the Second Amendment".

    Sweet, sweet, justice.


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