The recent revelations that Montana Senator Jon Tester has allowed industry lobbyists to craft legislation that benefits them contradict his campaign promise not to depend on lobbyists to make decisions. Emails obtained by Politico show that hemp industry lobbyists proposed and created a bill introduced by Tester in March to change regulations that benefit industrial hemp farmers. Tester’s willingness to let industry lobbyists shape their own regulations runs counter to his previous campaign rhetoric, where he pledged to depend on Montanans, not lobbyists, to make legislative decisions.
Tester’s everyman, outsider image has been key to winning three Senate elections in Montana, but it’s beginning to deteriorate as he seeks a fourth term. His decision to tap a former lobbyist to lead his campaign, his status as Congress’s top recipient of lobbyist cash in 2018, and his campaign’s million-dollar expenditure at swanky Beltway restaurants, despite his insistence that he prefers to eat at home with meat from his Montana farm, all raise questions about his commitment to keeping lobbyists at bay.