Tag: tim sheehy
Tim Sheehy

Montana GOP Candidate's 'Bootstrap' Narrative Omits $100K Loan From Parents

A Republican candidate for what will likely be one of the closest US Senate races in 2024 recently admitted that the success of his business only came after he got a huge cash injection from his parents.

Tim Sheehy, a businessman running against Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), is founder and CEO of Bridger Aerospace, which is an aerial firefighting company. He's known for his rags-to-riches story, telling crowds while stumping that he and his wife lived in a tent and a barn while they built the company up "from scratch." However, the Daily Beast reports that Sheehy has until now omitted the fact that his parents provided him with a $100,000 loan when he launched his company.

"When I saw a business opportunity, I took my entire life savings — I didn't get a government loan, didn’t get a government handout — I started a business in my barn and built it from scratch," Sheehy told a crowd of supporters at an August rally. He later said on a November podcast appearance that he and his wife "bought our land, and we lived in a tent, literally, for months, and we built the barn that we lived in for four and a half years. And it was like bootstrap central."

According to the Beast, Sheehy's forthcoming memoir, Mudslingers: A True Story of American Firefighting, includes a key passage about his family's largesse. While the 38-year-old ex-Navy SEAL and his wife saved up $300,000, it still wasn't enough for the roughly half million dollars needed to buy the company's first two planes.

At that point, Sheehy wrote that he called his parents and asked them for the $100,000 they had saved up for his college fund, since he attended the tuition-free US Naval Academy. He also called his brother Matt, who is president and CEO of an energy infrastructure company, and gave him an equity stake in the company and access to his company's financial records in exchange for a "significant cash investment."

"In addition to the $100,000 loan they offered me plenty of free advice, which as anyone knows in family business, can go both ways," Sheehy wrote, adding that "nothing would have moved forward without them."

If elected, Sheehy would be one of the wealthiest members of Congress, with a net worth between $74 million and $200 million, according to his financial disclosure forms. According to Ballotpedia, Sheehy is one of three Republican challengers for the Senate seat, with Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) also contemplating a run.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Tim Sheehy

GOP Senate Candidate Attacked Lobbyist Funding -- Then Took Their Money

Tim Sheehy, a Republican millionaire business executive running to be one of Montana’s U.S. senators in 2024, has repeatedly complained that Democratic Sen. Jon Tester takes too much in campaign donations from registered lobbyists. But Sheehy’s first campaign finance disclosure filing reveals that his campaign has already received tens of thousands of dollars from lobbyists. Sheehy is one of three candidates seeking the Republican nomination for the seat.

“On his way to becoming the number one recipient of lobbyist cash, Jon Tester has talked a lot about standing up to the pay-to-play culture in Washington but hasn’t done a thing to stop it,” Sheehy said in a September 25 press release. “Career politicians like Jon Tester have abandoned the American people — serving the lobbyists, special interests, and themselves instead of hard working Americans. Jon Tester is all talk, no leadership — Montanans deserve better.”

Sheehy’s claim, which he has also repeatedly tweeted, appears to be based on data from five years ago, when, at one point in the 2018 campaign cycle, Tester was the national leader in lobbyist contributions. He did not rank in the top 25, according to Open Secrets, during the 2020 or 2022 campaign cycles.

As national Republican leaders pushed to recruit Sheehy to run, he met in June with a group of about 20 federal lobbyists at the Washington, D.C., offices of tobacco giant Altria to discuss the race, according to a Politico Playbook report.

Three days after Sheehy joined the race, he accepted a $3,300 donation — the largest legally permissible amount — from registered lobbyist Todd Walker, Altria‘s senior vice president for government affairs and public policy.

A Sheehy campaign spokesperson did not immediately respond to an American Independent Foundation inquiry about his contributors.

Walker is not the only lobbyist funding Sheehy’s campaign. An American Independent Foundation review of his October quarterly disclosure to the Federal Election Commision reveals that he accepted at least $41,660 from registered lobbyists and another $1,000 from the corporate PAC for the CGCN Group, a top Washington lobbying firm.

Among his lobbyist donors are Brian Henneberry, who represents fossil fuel behemoth Koch Industries; Chevron lobbyist James R. Thompson; and Phil Hardy, whose clients include Sheehy’s own company, Bridger Aerospace Group.

As Sheehy collects donations from lobbyists and decries their influence, Insiderreported in August that he plans to give some of the proceeds of his soon-to-be-published memoir to the United Aerial Firefighters Association, an industry group he co-founded. The group has spent at least $25,000 on federal lobbying already in 2023.

Though the National Republican Senatorial Committee is backing Sheehy, polling shows he is trailing Republican Montana Rep. Matt Rosendale, who is reportedly planning to join the race, in a possible primary matchup. Sheehy also trails Tester in a hypothetical general election.

Reprinted with permission from American Journal News.

Shop our Store


Editor's Blog

Corona Virus