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New Jersey mulitimillionaire Greg Gianforte's Latest Ad Debunked

TOURISM CONTRACT


Greg Gianforte has been called out by the Great Falls Tribune for his “tendency to talk without having the facts” and by the Billings Gazette for misleading voters on his business record. Now Gianforte is running a TV ad that outright misleads Montanans on a Montana tourism contract that was awarded to the firm Hoffman York. Here are the facts:

FACTS

  • There is no law on the books that allows the State of Montana to give preferences to Montana companies in the RFP process, something that Governor Bullock has tried to change by calling on the legislature to pass his Hire Montanans First Act that they have refused to take up [HB490, 2013; SB 205, 2015].
  • The Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development conducted an open bidding process and awarded the contract based on which firm could best adequately perform the contract based on more than 50 criteria specific to the contract.
  • The Wisconsin firm Hoffman York is putting Montanans to work with its plan to use Shortgrass Web Development in Great Falls as its representative in Montana.
  • To be clear there was absolutely no conflict of interest in this bidding process. In the interest of transparency, Marketing Bureau chief for the Office of Tourism, Jenny Pelej disclosed before the process started that her father’s late brother’s wife’s daughter from a previous relationship worked at one of the firms under consideration. As MTN News reported: “Pelej disclosed during the process that she has a distant relative who works as an executive for Hoffman York – the step-daughter of her late uncle.”
  • The Hoffman York employee in question is not involved with the Montana contract and is not working on that account.
  • The contract is also for one year with the option for renewal and Governor Bullock has stated that he will be closely monitoring the contract and hold the firm’s feet to the fire to make sure Montanans get the most bang for their buck.
  • Governor Bullock plans to re-introduce his "Hire Montanans First" bill and will include a Montana hiring preference for any contract that markets Montana.

AD FACT CHECK


FALSE CLAIM #1: “Bullock’s friends get rich on state contracts and we pay the price”

FACT: Governor Bullock Has No Connection to Wisconsin Firm. Marketing Bureau chief for the Office of Tourism, Jenny Pelej disclosed before the evaluation process started that her father’s late brother’s wife’s daughter from a previous relationship worked at one of the firms under consideration. As MTN News reported:  “Pelej disclosed during the process that she has a distant relative who works as an executive for Hoffman York – the step-daughter of her late uncle.” [MTN News, 9/23/16]

FACT: Wisconsin Firm Employee Not Involved with Montana Contract. Marketing Bureau Chief for the Office of Tourism, Jenny Pelej’s father’s late brother’s wife’s daughter from a previous relationship who works at the Wisconsin firm, Hoffman York, is not involved with the Montana contract and not working on that account.

FACT: Montana Ranks in the Top Ten Nationally in Procurement. Montana ranks in the top ten nationally in procurement (Governing Magazine, February 2016). The State also ranked 5th overall in the nation for procurement workforce, training and certification. [Governing Magazine, 2/17/16]


FALSE CLAIM #2: Bullock let a Bozeman firm go”

FACT: Bozeman Firm Decided Not to Submit a Bid for the Contract. From MTN News: “MercuryCSC, the Bozeman company that had the contract for 10 years, decided not to submit a bid.” [MTN News, 9/23/16]


FALSE CLAIM #3: “Gave our $70 million to a company in Wisconsin”


FACT: Contract is for One Year. The $7 million contract is for one year with the possibility for renewal each year. [MTN News, 9/23/16]

FACT: Bullock: “I will be keeping a close eye on this contract.” From MTN News: “I will be keeping a close eye on this contract, it’s renewed every year…I’ll be holding their feet to the fire.” [MTN News, 9/23/16]

FACT: Hoffman York Earned the Highest Total Score in the Bidding Process, which determines the contract. From MTN News: “Five companies, including Hoffmann York and two firms from Montana, made the final cut and their bids were scored by a committee….The scoring occurred at open meetings of the committee. Hoffman York earned the highest score and the department negotiated a contract late this summer…” [MTN News, 9/23/16]

FACT: Hoffman York Using Great Falls Firm-Shortgrass Web Development. From Great Falls Tribune: “To fulfill the local requirement, Hoffman plans to use Shortgrass Web Development in Great Falls as its representative in Montana, responsible for making trips to Helena to meet with tourism officials.” [Great Falls Tribune, 8/22/16]


FALSE CLAIM #4: “Sure they don’t have much experience but they do have the cousin of Bullock’s hand-picked tourism chief”

FACT: Wisconsin Firm Employee NOT a “Cousin.” Marketing Bureau chief for the Office of Tourism, Jenny Pelej disclosed before the evaluation process started that her father’s late brother’s wife’s daughter from a previous relationship worked at one of the firms under consideration. As MTN News reported:  “Pelej disclosed during the process that she has a distant relative who works as an executive for Hoffman York – the step-daughter of her late uncle.” [MTN News, 9/23/16]

FACT: Tourism Marketing Director NOT “Hand-Picked” By Bullock. Marketing Bureau Chief for the Office of Tourism, Jenny Pelej, was not appointed by Governor Bullock. Jenny Pelej was hired through the standard, competitive state hiring process for classified employees. [Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development]

FACT: Wisconsin Firm Employee Not Involved with Montana Contract. Marketing Bureau Chief for the Office of Tourism, Jenny Pelej’s father’s late brother’s wife’s daughter from a previous relationship who works at the Wisconsin firm, Hoffman York, is not involved with the Montana contract and is not working on that account.

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