Special interest group rewarded Congressman after abrupt change of position on Cuban trade
BILLINGS, Mont.— Lobbyist Dennis Rehberg jeopardized opportunities for Montana farmers when he abruptly changed his position on Cuban trade restrictions in exchange for thousands in campaign contributions.
Nine years ago this week Rehberg visited Cuba, where he supported an agreement easing trade restrictions to allow the island nation to purchase $10 million in Montana agricultural goods. It was one of Rehberg’s two trips to Cuba early in his congressional career, when he supported legislation to end America’s 50 year trade embargo and consistently voted to ease travel restrictions.
Congressman Dennis Rehberg meets with Fidel Castro
But in 2004, Rehberg suddenly voted against ending Cuba’s embargo.
Six months later Rehberg received his first campaign donation from the U.S.-Cuba Democracy Political Action Committee, a group created to “target new members of Congress in an effort to create a bipartisan wall of support for the embargo.”
Rehberg’s relationship with the U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC “illustrates how a relatively small special interest group can help shape policy through targeted political donations,” wrote the Havana Journal.
Since 2005, Rehberg has received tens of thousands of dollars from the U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC in return for his consistent opposition to ending the trade embargo with Cuba.
Just last year Rehberg received a $2,000 contribution from the special interest group’s treasurer–Gus Machado. But Rehberg failed to fully disclose the contribution along with $25,000 in lobbyist donations.
Read a full recap of Rehberg’s controversial sell-out HERE.
“Lobbyist Dennis Rehberg’s votes are for sale to the highest special interest bidder, proving he’s out for himself, not Montana,” said Montanan’s for Tester spokeswoman Alexandra Fetissoff. “Dennis Rehberg cheated Montana farmers out of future trade opportunities with Cuba—in exchange for campaign kickbacks.”