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MT: Attorney General Goes to Bat for Hard Working State Employees
Matt Singer on August 23, 2006 - 10:12am
Yesterday, we told you about lobbyist Rick Berman's operation Center for Union Facts (a misleading name, to say the least) putting television ads on the air in four states attacking public employees. Fortunately, not everyone is taking the attacks without responding in kind. In Montana, Attorney General Mike McGrath has come to the defense of the workers he supervises:
"For anyone to suggest that Montana Motor Vehicle Division field bureau employees are overpaid is laughable," McGrath said in a news release. "They license more than 162,000 drivers of all ages and abilities each year, and they do an exemplary job at a wage that is barely livable." Pay for all examiners in the division's field offices averages $13.31 an hour. License clerks start at $8.37.The Center is also getting caught misleading the media. The ads in question are running in Michigan, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon -- all states targeted by TABOR-style spending cap initiatives this fall. On Monday, Rick Berman, the slick D.C. lobbyist who pulled together the Center for Union Facts, told this AP reporter that there was no connection between his ads and the ballot measures. Unfortunately, clear evidence indicates he was lying. For starters, he had previously told The Register Guard in Oregon that the ballot measures were one reason for the state targeting of the ads. Berman also dispatched staff to present the ads to a meeting of Americans for Limited Government (ALG). ALG is the major funding source for the vast majority of the ballot measures and is coordinating the efforts in the states. At the conference, Berman's deputy appeared on a panel with two state leaders of TABOR campaigns. But, remember, there is no connection between the two. Perhaps, though, the most insulting statement in today's news story is when Berman flack Sarah Longwell denies insulting state workers:
Responding to McGrath's criticism, Longwell said the ads are aimed not at public employees but at union bosses, they are designed to stir debate, and "Mike is missing the humorous point in our ad."The fact is that the Center for Union Facts says state workers are lazy and overcompensated. Berman has explicitly stated that his mission is to lower wages and cut benefits for workers in order to increase profits for his corporate benefactors. Montana's Attorney General didn't miss a thing. Longwell missed something, though -- the truth.