Rehberg altered document after special interest Vegas getaway

Congressman changed disclosure forms, removing lobbyist friend from records

BILLINGS, Mont. – Congressman Dennis Rehberg pulled off a quick-footed cover-up to avoid accountability in the wake of special-interest funded getaway to Las Vegas.

Official documents state that Rehberg’s friend, DC lobbyist Leo Giacometto, helped fund the 2004 trip to Las Vegas to meet with Bigelow Airspace.

In Las Vegas, Rehberg met with Bigelow Aerospace about the Inland Northwest Space Alliance (INSA), the now-defunct, scandal-ridden recipient of $3 million in noncompetitive government grants.  Bigelow went on to do business with INSA.

A few months earlier, Giacometto arranged for members of Rehberg’s staff to enjoy a weekend in Las Vegas for meetings with Bigelow Airspace.

But the campaign of Montana farmer Jon Tester has learned that months later, Rehberg removed Giacometto’s name from official Congressional documents. The change happened during the wake of Congressman Tom Delay’s lobbying scandal that eventually landed the former House Majority Leader behind bars.

“Montanans can’t trust Dennis Rehberg to hold himself accountable to Montana,” said Montanans for Tester spokeswoman Alexandra Fetissoff. “In Montana your word is your bond, but Dennis Rehberg’s commitment to special interests proves to Montanans that we can’t trust him or his word.”

Giacometto, a former chief of staff to Senator Conrad Burns, orchestrated several special interest events for Rehberg, including an infamous taxpayer-funded trip to Kazakhstan.  Rehberg has close tiesto Giacometto’s lobbying business, GAGE International.

In a newly released recording, Rehberg admits it would have been smarter to have chosen a career in lobbying over serving Montanans in Congress.

‘“If I had been smart,”Rehberg told the American League of Lobbyists, “I would have said, ‘nope, no, I think I’ll stay out of the political arena and go into lobbying.’”

Read more about Rehberg’s staffs’ special interest getaways HERE.

Read more about Rehberg’s record as a “special interest yes-man” below: