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The Bernie Sanders Way: Divide And Campaign

- May 19, 2017

After Dividing The Democratic Party And Being Blamed For Causing An Election Loss, Bernie Heads North To Stump For Rob Quist, Where Things Are Looking South For The Montana Democrat 

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TOP TAKEAWAYS

  • After campaigning with Omaha mayoral candidate Heath Mello, Bernie Sanders was criticized by Democrats for involving himself in the race and being responsible for the candidate's defeat.
  • Sanders was criticized for "literally dividing" the Democrats on their "unity tour."
  • Meanwhile, new revelations of deceit have emerged from a 1994 Quist lawsuit, detailing drug use and a contradictory account of his story for why he had failed to pay his taxes and bills over the past two decades.
  • Rob Quist was caught lying about a central claim in his campaign's TV and radio ads, which falsely smeared Quist's opponent.
  • Three of Montana's major newspapers have endorsed Greg Gianforte over Rob Quist, all citing serious concern over Quist's financial problems and lack of policy depth.

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DIVISION AMONGST DEMOCRATS ON DISPLAY DURING THEIR QUEST FOR UNITY

Bernie Sanders And The DNC Came Under Fire After Campaigning With "Moderate" Democrat Heath Mello In The Omaha Mayoral Race

University Of Nebraska Omaha Political Science Professor And Former Democratic Mayoral Staffer Paul Landow Called Sanders An "Ultraliberal" And Said It Was A "Colossal Mistake" For "Moderate" Mello To Campaign With Him . "Paul Landow, a political scientist and a former Democratic mayoral staffer, called it a 'colossal mistake' to bring in Sanders. 'Why do you bring an ultraliberal into a moderate city to campaign for a moderate candidate for mayor?' Landow said. 'Bernie Sanders is not going to do anything to expand your base.'" (Henry Cordes and Roseann Moring, "Bernie Sanders Campaigning For Heath Mello Was 'A Colossal Mistake,' UNO Professor Says." Omaha World-Herald , 5/12/17)

The Wall Street Journal Reported That Heath Mello Co-Sponsored Legislation Requiring Abortion Providers Offer To Show Women Ultrasounds Before Undergoing An Abortion. "He plans to campaign Thursday in Nebraska with Heath Mello, a former Nebraska state senator who in 2009 sponsored legislation requiring women to look at ultrasound image of their fetus before receiving an abortion. At the time Mr. Mello called the proposal a 'positive first step' toward reducing the number of abortions in Nebraska. It became law months later. Eight years later Mr. Mello remains opposed to abortion, said Nebraska Democratic Party Chairwoman Jane Kleeb." (Reid Epstein and Natalie Andrews, "Democrats Reload For Georgia Runoff, But Party Divisions Remain," The Wall Street Journal , 4/19/17)

National Reproductive Groups Condemned The DNC And Sanders For Embracing And Supporting A Political Figure Who Opposed Abortion. "The groups' pointed criticism of DNC chair Tom Perez, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) for embracing Mello sparked a bitter public debate about the Democratic Party's values ― one that continues to simmer, overshadowing the large crowds the party drew on its cross-country tour." (Daniel Marans, "How Democrats Got Mired In A Nasty Internal Battle Over Abortion," The Huffington Post , 4/29/17)

  • NARAL, A Pro-Choice Women's Advocacy Group That Endorsed Hillary Clinton In The Democratic Primary, Harshly Criticized The DNC For "Embracing" An Anti-Choice Candidate . "NARAL Pro-Choice America, an organization that endorsed Hillary Clinton in the presidential primary, harshly criticized the DNC for what it called the party's 'embrace' of 'an anti-choice candidate.'" (Clare Foran, "Rifts Over Abortion And Economic Populism Threaten To Divide Democrats," The Atlantic , 4/20/17)

Bernie Sanders Was Criticized For Not Only Dividing The Democratic Party During His "Unity Tour," But Also Causing Deeper Division Amongst Party Factions

Markos Moulitsas, Founder Of "Influential Liberal" Political Media Daily Kos, Said Bernie Has "Literally Divided The Party More Than It Was Before The (Unity) Tour Began." "'The fact that Tom Perez has given Sanders a platform without Sanders genuinely agreeing to work toward 'unity' has made a mockery of the whole process and literally divided the party more than it was before the tour began. It has been a disaster,' said Markos Moulitsas, the founder of the influential liberal Daily Kos site. 'Yes, Perez and company are clearly afraid of Sanders and his followers, but letting Sanders make a mockery of the party doesn't exactly help it build in the long haul.'" (Edward Isaac Dovere and Gabriel Debenedetti, "Democrats Divide On Bernie's 2020 Plans," Politico , 5/16/17)

Sanders Caused Division Within The Democratic Party, When He Said Of Jon Ossoff: "He's Not A Progressive." "That's not the only controversy to divide the party in less than 24-hours. Sanders also drew backlash from Democrats after he told the Journal that he doesn't know if Jon Ossoff, a Democratic candidate hoping to flip a conservative congressional district in Georgia, is a progressive in an article published on Wednesday. Sanders appeared to go even further in an interview with The Washington Post, saying bluntly: 'He's not a progressive.'" (Daniel Marans, "How Democrats Got Mired In A Nasty Internal Battle Over Abortion," The Huffington Post , 4/29/17)

  • Carlos Moreno, Founder Of An Indivisible Group In Georgia Working To Support The Ossoff Campaign Said, "Bernie Seems To Have A Rather Extreme Point Of View." "'I think that Bernie seems to have a rather extreme point of view, that if a candidate wants to do anything to create jobs, that he's not a progressive,' Moreno added." (Clare Fogan, “Rifts Over Abortion And Economic Populist Threaten To Divide Democrats,” The Atlantic, 4/20/17)

Former DNC Chair Donna Brazile Warned Party Leaders Against Relying On Sanders To Build Party Unity. "Former DNC chair Donna Brazile warned party leaders against relying on Sanders, unless they're willing to give in on opening the party to more independents like he wants. 'He's not someone who we should go to, to build or rebuild or expand our party unless he's willing,' she said." (Edward Isaac Dovere and Gabriel Debenedetti, "Democrats Divide On Bernie's 2020 Plans," Politico , 5/16/17)

Despite The Nebraska Debacle, Bernie Is Visiting Montana To Campaign For Quist While Perez Is Not

The Quist Campaign Announced That Bernie Will Be Campaigning For Quist In Montana On May 20 And 21. "On Friday, the Quist Campaign announced the dates of Sanders' visits. The Vermont progressive will appear at rallies for Quist in Missoula, Butte, and Billings on May 20, and Bozeman on May 21." (Daniel Marans, "How Democrats Got Mired In A Nasty Internal Battle Over Abortion," The Huffington Post , 4/29/17)

Quist Rejected DNC Chairman Tom Perez's Offer To Campaign With Him In Montana. "Rob Quist, the folk music star-turned-Democratic House candidate in Montana's special election, declined an offer for the Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez to campaign for him in the state, an inside source says." (Daniel Marans and Ryan Grim, "Rob Quist Turned Down A Visit From DNC Chair Tom Perez," The Huffington Post , 4/29/17)

QUIST'S LENGTHY LEGACY OF FINANCIAL DECEPTION AND ETHICAL SHORTCOMINGS

New Revelations Of Deceit Have Emerged From A 1994 Quist Lawsuit, Detailing Marijuana Use And Previously Undisclosed Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

Quist's 1994 Lawsuit Was To Collect Damages For Medical Expenses And Lost Wages For "Derailing" His Music Career, The Lawsuit Was Also His Primary Justification For Not Paying Over $27,000 Of Personal Debt And Taxes. "At issue in the October 1994 lawsuit filed by Quist, who is currently running for Congress, was a gallbladder operation that Quist used as recently as March to excuse more than $27,000 in debts and property taxes that were not paid off until this year. Quist and his wife sought damage relief not only for his medical expenses and lost wages during treatment but also for derailing his music career, which he now says was 'getting ready to pop' at the time." (Brant Scher, "As Quist Breaks Out, Decades Old Lawsuit Lawsuit Sheds Light On Montana Democrat's Marriage And Career," Washington Free Beacon , 5/16/17)

Public Court Records Emerged From The Medical Malpractice Lawsuit That Uncovered A History Of Quist's Preexisting Conditions And Drug Abuse. "An hour before the event's start at Great Burn Brewing, a national conservative media site posted and wrote about public court records from a 20-year old malpractice lawsuit Quist had filed against a doctor who cut the wrong duct during a gallbladder surgery." (Jayme Fraser, "Quist Declines To Discuss Personal Marijuana Use, Health Record," The Missoulian , 5/16/17)

This Uncovered History Consisted Of Testing Positive For Tuberculosis-Causing Bacteria And Marijuana Use. "The documents included discussion of some sensitive personal medical information and whether those details would be admissible in court for that case, including an intake form where Quist said he occasionally used marijuana and had tested positive for a tuberculosis-causing bacteria 'since grade school.'" (Jayme Fraser, "Quist Declines To Discuss Personal Marijuana Use, Health Record," The Missoulian , 5/16/17)

Quist's History Of Illegal Drug Use

Public Court Records From The Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Document A History Of Repeated Use Of Illegal Drugs By Rob Quist. ( Motion In Limine, Filed In The Montana Eleventh Judicial District, Flathead County , 2/2/96, p. 4)

Quist Was Caught Lying To Voters About His Opponent's Finances

For The Past Two Months, Quist And The Montana Democratic Party Have Run TV And Radio Ads Accusing Quist's Opponent, Greg Gianforte, Of Having Had 22 Tax Liens Against Him. "Quist and the Montana Democratic Party have for two months made the claim, now featured in Quist's radio and television ads, that Republican House candidate 'Greg Gianforte and his business had 22 tax liens.'" (Tom Lutey, "Contrary To Quist Ads, Tax Liens Weren't Gianforte's, Says Company That Bought RightNow," The Billings Gazette , 5/3/17)

International Software Company Oracle "Debunked" Quist's Claim That 22 Tax Liens Were Filed Against His Opponent, Greg Gianforte. "International software giant Oracle Corp. has debunked U.S. House candidate Rob Quist's claim that 22 tax liens were filled against his Republican opponent and Bozeman-based RightNow Technologies from 2012 to 2015. Quist and the Montana Democratic Party have for two months made the claim." (Tom Lutey, "Contrary To Quist Ads, Tax Liens Weren't Gianforte's, Says Company That Bought RightNow," The Billings Gazette , 5/3/17)

Quist Underreported $57,000 Of Personal Income On Federally Required Disclosure Statements

Quist Underreported His Income By $57,000 On His Federally Required Financial Disclosure Statements. "The Democratic candidate for Montana's sole U.S. House seat, a cowboy poet and musician running for public office for the first time, underreported $57,000 in income when he filed federally required financial disclosure statements two months ago." (Bob Calvan, "Montana Dem In US House Bid Underreports Income," The Associated Press , 5/2/17)

  • Quist Initially Reported Earning $79,000 In Income In 2016 And Later Revised This Number To $136,000. "His updated disclosures show Quist and his wife made about $136,000 in 2016. The original report identified about $79,000 in income, while a copy of Quist's 2016 tax return released to the AP by his campaign listed a total income of $64,805." (Bob Calvan, "Montana Dem In US House Bid Underreports Income," The Associated Press , 5/2/17)
  • The Number Was Corrected As Quist Included Income Earned From Almost Two Dozen Performances He Did Not Include In The First Filing, Including A Performance At The "Red Ants Pants Music Festival." "The number was bumped up to $136,000 as the number of concert performances Quist reported went from 11 in his first report to 34, including a spot at the Red Ants Pants Music Festival." (Tom Lutey, "Quist Has Ties To Rental Property Not Listed On State Tax Rolls," The Billings Gazette , 5/9/17)

Quist Failed To Disclose His Ties To A Private Rental Property

Public Records Show That Rob Quist Has Ties To A Rental Property He Did Not List On His State Tax Rolls. "Montana's Democratic U.S. House candidate, Rob Quist has ties to a rental property not listed on state tax rolls, public records show. Quist acknowledged the apartments Tuesday in an interview with The Gazette, but denied renting out the units. Advertising records and leasing contracts suggest otherwise." (Tom Lutey, "Quist Has Ties To Rental Property Not Listed On State Tax Rolls," The Billings Gazette , 5/9/17)

When Asked About The Properties, Quist Denied Renting Out The Apartment Units. "Quist acknowledged the apartments Tuesday in an interview with The Gazette, but denied renting out the units. Advertising records and leasing contracts suggest otherwise. 'My son's living there, so that's not a rental property. It's just something that's kind of family-owned,' Quist said." (Tom Lutey, "Quist Has Ties To Rental Property Not Listed On State Tax Rolls," The Billings Gazette , 5/9/17)

  • But The Quists Rented The Apartments To At Least Four Tenants, And Advertised The Apartment Units On Craigslist. "The Quists have rented the apartment units, advertising them on Kalispell Craigslist as a 'Cozy Country Slice of Montana Close to Town.' Through the online classified service, Bonni Quist described the units, one with lofted ceilings, as being part of a renovated 100-year-old barn. The Gazette identified four people who have rented from Quist in recent years." (Tom Lutey, "Quist Has Ties To Rental Property Not Listed On State Tax Rolls," The Billings Gazette , 5/9/17)

The Quist's Did Not Pay Their Property Taxes Despite Having The Means To Do So

In 2007, The Quists Didn't Pay Their State Property Taxes. "The Montana Department of Revenue filed a lien against the Quists in 2015 for $8,189.38 for unpaid taxes and fees related to the 2007 delinquency. Court records show that in May 2016, the debt was paid off." (Tom Lutey, "Quist Has 16-Year Debt Trail, Records Show," Billings Gazette , 3/25/17)

Quist Was Caught Lying About Paying Off A Debt From 2010-A Claim Later Proven Untrue

In 2010, The Quists Stopped Making Payments On A $10,000 Debt Which Resulted In A Debt Service Suing The Quists For Collection. "Quist said the matter involved a credit card that he charged on during episodes of poor health. The couple still owed $9,994.19 on the card when the Quists stopped paying the bill in March 2010. Wells Fargo sold the debt to Security Credit Services LLC, which sued the Quists for payment in 2014." (Tom Lutey, "Quist Has 16-Year Debt Trail, Records Show," The Billings Gazette , 3/25/17)

  • Rob Quist Is Still Under Court Order To Pay This Debt, Now Owned By Security Credit Services LLC, Which Has Sued The Quists For Payment. "The candidate is still under court order to pay a $10,301.69 debt stemming from a Wells Fargo line of credit that Quist and his wife, Bonni, quit making payments on in 2010. The debt now belongs to Security Credit Services LLC, which has successfully sued the Quists for payment." (Tom Lutey, "Contrary To Quist Ads, Tax Liens Weren't Gianforte's, Says Company That Bought RightNow," The Billings Gazette , 5/3/17)
  • Multiple Times Quist Said His Debts Have Been Paid, But The Billings Gazette Proved This Claim To Be False. "Quist has more than once said his debts have been paid including last week, during a meeting with the Gazette Editorial board and Gianforte. The Gazette corrected Quist, noting that court records showed the Wells Fargo debt remained unpaid." (Tom Lutey, "Contrary To Quist Ads, Tax Liens Weren't Gianforte's, Says Company That Bought RightNow," The Billings Gazette , 5/3/17)

Three Prominent Montana Newspapers All Endorsed Greg Gianforte Over Quist, Lambasting Quist's Personal Financial Complications, Insufficient Policy Knowledge, And His Failure To Demonstrate He Is Up For The Job

Three Of Montana's Most Prominent Newspapers Have Endorsed Gianforte Over Quist. "The Missoulian, the Helena Independent Record, and the Billings Gazette all endorsed Gianforte over Democrat Rob Quist in the race to fill the state's open seat in congress." (Corin Cates-Carney, "Three Of Montana's Largest Newspapers Endorse Gianforte For US House," MTPR , 5/13/17)

University Of Montana Political Science Professor: These Endorsements Show A Lack Of Confidence In Quist's Ability To Do The Job. "' What we saw in these endorsements of the editorial boards was as much a lack of confidence in Quist's ability to do the job as it was an endorsement of Gianforte,' says Rob Saldin, a political science professor at the University of Montana. The newspaper editorial boards expressed doubt in Quist's knowledge of policy and his ability to be more than a Democratic placeholder in congress." (Corin Cates-Carney, "Three Of Montana's Largest Newspapers Endorse Gianforte For US House," MTPR , 5/13/17)

The Missoulian : Quist Has Never Demonstrated He Can Achieve Measurable Results. "Quist's strongest assets are his ability to connect with people from all walks of life and build networks. However, nowhere in his career has it been demonstrated that he can use these strengths to achieve measurable results." (The Missoulian Editorial Board, "Missoulian Editorial: Our Endorsement In The Special Election (With Some Reservations)," The Missoulian , 5/14/17)

The Missoulian : Due To Lack Of Policy Understanding, Quist Is "Unlikely To Be Heard By Those Writing The Bills." "He does not yet have a deep enough understanding of complex policy matters, and therefore, he offers only general ideas of how to address them. In any case, no matter how practical his suggestions, they are unlikely to be heard by those writing the bills." (The Missoulian Editorial Board, "Missoulian Editorial: Our Endorsement In The Special Election (With Some Reservations)," The Missoulian , 5/14/17)

The Billings Gazette Editorial Board Contrasted The Two Candidates As "An Entertainer Who Can't Keep Track Of His Own Finances, Or A Very Successful Businessman Who Has Given Millions To Charitable Causes." "All we have to judge is their past experience. On one hand, we have an entertainer who can't keep track of his own finances, or a very successful businessman who has given millions to charitable causes." (The Billings Gazette Editorial Board, "Gazette Opinion: In The Race For Congress, It's Gianforte," The Billings Gazette , 5/14/17)

  • The Editorial Board Said That Gianforte Was "The Best Candidate In The Race To Represent Montana's Interests In Congress." "We believe he is the best candidate in the race to represent Montana's interests in Congress. We need someone who can hit the ground running in D.C., because we've been without representation in the House. We believe Gianforte has studied the issues and knows enough about them to catch up." (The Billings Gazette Editorial Board, "Gazette Opinion: In The Race For Congress, It's Gianforte," The Billings Gazette , 5/14/17)
  • The Editorial Board Said That Quist "Lacked The Depth" To Be Much More Than A "Democratic Placeholder." "Meanwhile, Quist's answers showed a lack of depth and we simply don't believe he would be able to do much more than be a Democratic placeholder." (The Billings Gazette Editorial Board, "Gazette Opinion: In The Race For Congress, It's Gianforte," The Billings Gazette , 5/14/17)

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