HELENA — Without his $500,000 in personal loans, state Sen. Matt Rosendale, R-Glendive, would have had the smallest campaign treasury of the major candidates for the U.S. House here as of Dec. 31.
But since Rosendale dropped in $250,000 in personal loans in each of the last two quarters of 2013, he had the largest campaign war chest of the four major candidates who had filed for the open House seat last year.
Rosendale reported that his campaign had total receipts of $607,337 through Dec. 31, including the $500,000 in loans.
He raised about $107,000 from other donors, including a $1,922 personal donation.
The real estate developer makes no apologies for his loans.
“I’m proud of my reports,” he said. “I think what they show is I have concerns about the direction the nation is heading and they show I’m not beholden to any special interest.”
“When I think about our founders, and I don’t want this to sound corny, but this is the truth: The founders pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor when they signed the Declaration of Independence.
“Too many people serving (now) are trying to enrich their lives, increase their futures and are willing to compromise their sacred honor. It bothers me.
“How can I do less than what they (the founders) have done? How can I expect anyone to support my campaign if I myself wasn’t willing to?”
Asked if he could be criticized for trying to buy the election, Rosendale disagreed.
“I’m only beholden to the citizens of Montana,” he said. “At the end of the day, I’ve devoted my time to traveling around the state and meeting with Montanans, not traveling around the country and meeting with contributors and special-interest groups.”
Loans from candidates to their campaigns don’t have to be repaid and often aren’t.
Rosendale said he’s campaigned in all 56 counties, which takes time and a focused effort.
His personal financial report that Rosendale filed with the U.S. House in December showed that he and his wife have net assets ranging in value between $5.4 million and $25.9 million.
That’s after deducting the mortgage of $1 million to $5 million owed on their ranch.
His largest asset, MBA Consultants Inc., is a land holding company originally created in Maryland when Rosedale lived there and now registered to do business in both states. It’s valued at between $5 million and $25 million.
He also owns Eagles Crossing Inc., a development company valued at between $1 and $5 million.
Their ranch near Glendive is valued at between $250,000 and $500,000.
Rosendale has raised $90,950 in itemized individual donations, including $48,250 from Montana, for 45 percent of his total donations.
He said the $500,000 loans ought to be counted as Montana donations, but the Gazette State Bureau analysis looked only at contributions made to the House candidates, not loans. However, if Rosendale’s loans were counted, then 90.3 percent of his donations would come from Montana.
His largest chunk of Montana donations was $21,750 from his adopted hometown of Glendive.
Rosendale also has received $13,450 from donors in his native state of Maryland.
He received $1,000 from the National Roofing Contractors Political Action Committee and $999 from the Montana Coal Council’s Coal PAC.