The Billings Gazette reports today that Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg’s chief of staff, Erik Iverson, is leaving his job with Montana’s sole congressional representative to work for Tom Siebel, the billionaire software mogul who is responsible for the widely praised Montana Meth Project advertising and awareness campaign. Iverson is also the chair of the state GOP, and he will remain at that post.
Iverson could not be reached for comment as of the writing of the story, which is basically a rewritten press release, and he will reportedly work as a consultant on several unspecified projects. But the obvious question that arises from this move is whether Siebel could be contemplating a run for higher office in Montana, perhaps to lay the groundwork in four years for a run for governor, which will be an open seat, or to challenge Democratic Sen. Jon Tester for re-election. Siebel is a part-time resident of Montana, so I don’t know where his actual residency is, which would of course affect his eligibility for public office. But Iverson’s two-year term as GOP chair is up this summer, leaving him ample time to plan a wide-ranging and VERY well-funded campaign.
From the Gazette:
HELENA – Erik Iverson has resigned as chief of staff to Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., to work for billionaire Tom Siebel, but he will remain chairman of the Montana Republican Party.
Iverson’s resignation was announced in a Rehberg press release Tuesday that named Jay Martin as his new chief of staff. Martin had been Rehberg’s deputy chief of staff since January 2004 after joining the congressman’s staff in May 2002.
Montana Republican Party spokeswoman Alden Downing said Iverson will remain chairman of the party.
His two-year term expires in the summer of 2009.
“As far as the party goes, nothing changes for us,” she said. “He’s planning on fulfilling his chair’s job.
A press release from Rehberg said Iverson will work as a consultant for Siebel on several projects.
Siebel founded Siebel Systems Inc., a software company that he sold for $5.8 billion in 2005 and is a part-time Montana resident. He is founder of the Montana Meth Project, which runs edgy anti-meth ads.
Iverson could not be reached for comment.
In the press release, Rehberg said, “I greatly appreciate all of Erik’s hard work on my behalf and on behalf of our state. It’s obvious those efforts have paid off. I wish him the best of luck in the future.”
Martin is an Ohio native who received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Dayton.
He joined Rehberg’s office after stints working for two Republican congressmen from Oklahoma.
“He has a strong work ethic, and I can think of no one better to take over the reins as my chief of staff,” Rehberg said.
Martin said he is excited to take on a new job for Rehberg and for Montana people.
“Denny’s in a great position as a member of the Appropriations Committee to push through funding for rural priorities such as health care and energy development,” Martin said.
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