Musician turned U.S. House candidate, Rob Quist, who has claimed that not being able to work kept him from paying his mortgage in 2011, actually performed at least 35 concerts that year.

Quist and the Mission Mountain Wood Band went on a 25th anniversary tour during 2011. The performer also performed shows with two other groups. His work schedule began in April and finished in December, a longer stretch than in other performance years, according to cached scheduling information on Quist’s business website.

Quist in court documents had said he “suffered from significant health problems, making him unable to work” in 2011. Not working combined with his wife, Bonni’s, slumping real estate business lead to the Quists not making monthly mortgage payments on their Flathead Valley home, according to the lawsuit filed by the couple against U.S. Bank, Stewart Title and Homestead Mortgage.

The candidate has said more than once that a botched gallbladder surgery in 1996 has caused sporadic health problems for 20 years. The candidate told The Gazette a surgeon accidentally cut his bile duct, a tube that delivers bile from the liver to the small intestine. The duct had to be repaired and Quist said he has been infection-prone ever since.

Last week, The Gazette brought up with Quist the 2011 period in which he said he couldn’t work. When asked by The Gazette if he had any performance income during 2011, Quist replied, “No. I did not.”

According to Quist's U.S. House financial report, he reported income of between $1,000 and $2,000 per performance. 

The number of times Quist worked as a performing musician during 2011 is in line with other performance years posted by Quist on RobQuist.com to cached scheduling pages from his website. There are several videos online of Quist performing in 2011.

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Quist’s campaign said that in his prime Quist performed more than 100 shows a year and that 35 was just a few shows, not nearly enough to cover his debts.

"Any working Montanan can tell you how little Rob worked while he was having health problems was not enough to cover the catastrophic health care bills his family had to deal with,” said Tina Olechowski, communications director for the Quist campaign. “What is at stake in this election is whether Montanans will send Rob Quist to Congress, who understands the everyday struggles of hard-working Montana families, or a New Jersey multi-millionaire who is being backed by D.C. politicians that want to raise Montanans' health care premiums by $300 a month and charge older Montanans five times more for insurance."

Quist will face Republican Greg Gianforte and Libertarian Mark Wicks in a special election to fill Montana's at large House seat, vacated earlier this month by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Ballots are to be mailed April 28. Voting ends May 25.

Gianforte is the founder of the Bozeman-based software business RightNow Technologies, which has since sold to Oracle for $1.8 billion. Gianforte moved to Bozeman 22 years ago from New Jersey.

House Republicans have invested in the Montana race with a $700,000 ad buy by the Congressional Leadership Fund, a political action committee. No national PAC associated with the Democratic Party has made a similar investment in television ads in the Montana race. There are no television ads on the air backing Quist, a Democrat.

Quist’s lawsuit was first reported by The Gazette on March 25, as one of seven debt-related legal proceedings against the candidate. Flathead County court and property records indicate the popular musician turned politician has been turned over to collections, sued by a bank after not repaying a loan and accused of fraud and deceit by a former member of Mission Mountain Wood Band, the group that vaulted Quist to Montana stardom in the 1970s.

The lawsuit in which Quist says severe health problems prevented him from working in 2011, accuses U.S. Bank, Stewart Title and American Homestead Mortgage of not dealing fairly with the couple and not observing consumer protection laws, as the Quists attempted to divide and sell portions of their land to satisfy their mortgage debt.

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