by Travis Mateer
Are local news outlets, like the Missoula Current, REPORTING on problems with the small business retention funds distributed by the County to local businesses, or are they FRAMING this story in specific ways to protect a Democratic State Senator by the name of Ellie Boldman (no longer) Smith?
I would argue the latter, and this article by Martin Kidston is the best evidence (so far) that the real story of a State Senator double-dipping Covid relief money is being covered up.
I first wrote about Ellie Boldman receiving small business retention money on January 4th with this post. On January 13th I wrote another post after the Missoula Current wrote an article focusing on the geographic distribution of the job retention funds.
Now the Missoula Current is at it again, reporting on the revocation of $19,000 to the law office that is NOT owned by a Democratic State Senator. Here is the reason why the Morgan-Pierce law firm is having to give back the retention money:
“With the materials submitted as part of their application package, they met all the eligibility requirements, including the job retention criteria,” said Melissa Gordon. “What became clear last week in email communications about the contract was that they didn’t meet the job retention criteria for the grant and were ineligible for funding.”
Gordon, manager of grants for the county, said more than 125 businesses applied for the limited pool of funding, which totaled $625,000. The award amounts ranged from $10,000 to $25,000 and the majority of the funds – 58% – went to the food and drink industry.
I am impressed with how effectively Martin Kidston has kept Ellie Boldman’s name out of his reporting for his online rag, the Missoula Current. I would think at least a sentence or two might be warranted about Ellie’s law firm receiving money, since it’s THE ONLY OTHER LAW FIRM to have received retention funds.
Instead of making any effort to contact the Ellie Hill Smith Law Office for comment on this story, we get some cryptic shit about more revocations coming:
“I might be bringing another contract revocation to you,” Gordon told commissioners on Tuesday. “There’s another grantee that has some concerns about duplication of benefits with the Paycheck Protection Program loan they might accept.”
If another contract revocation is made by Missoula County, will the Missoula Current write another article that goes out of its way to NOT talk about the fact that $50,000 dollars out of $625,000 went to a Democratic State Senator with political connections?
If members of our local media are THIS obvious about framing a narrative to protect a Democratic politician from scrutiny, what other stories are flying under the radar?
I think that’s a question worth asking.