Governor Brian Schweitzer takes a stand on the lobbyist/political arena revolving door in the following Billings Gazette
article. It's a start at least on this nefarious issue:
Governor asks Rowe to step down from job
By JENNIFER McKEE
Billings Gazette State Bureau
August 12, 2005
HELENA - Gov. Brian Schweitzer has asked Democrat Bob Rowe, the former chairman of the state Public Service Commission, not to work on the governor's upcoming energy conference because Rowe is associated with a lobbying firm that represents several energy companies.
The governor's office had previously hired Rowe to help organize the conference. Rowe has been released from that job.
"It's simply policy," Schweitzer said. "I believe passionately that you can only serve one master. When we have chosen people to work for us, we have chosen people who will commit themselves to working for all the people of Montana, not a special interest."
Rowe, a Missoula lawyer, served on the commission from 1993 until January 2005 when term limits barred him from running for re-election. He started a telecommunications consulting firm earlier this year with offices in Helena and Baltimore, Md.
Recently, the Gallatin Group listed him on its Web site as "of counsel" in its Helena office. Rowe said he's not being paid by the Gallatin Group but they can consult each other on projects.
The Northwestern consulting and lobbying firm represents a host of companies, including PPL Montana, Duke Energy North America and British Nuclear Fuels Ltd.
Reached by e-mail on vacation, Rowe said Thursday that he doesn't work for the Gallatin Group, but that he also didn't want the flap to overshadow the upcoming conference, which Rowe described as "an important event for Montana" that he encouraged all to attend.
Rowe said he enjoyed working on the conference and described his termination as "amicable."
Schweitzer has said he will not appoint lobbyists to state boards or hire them for state work while they are also working as lobbyists.
In the 2005 Legislature, Schweitzer opposed two appointees by former Gov. Judy Martz to the Board of Regents, which oversees the Montana university system, because they were working as lobbyists. He later dropped his opposition after the two Mike Foster, of Billings, and Kala French, of Kalispell stopped lobbying.
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