Columbia Falls Lawmaker Wants to be Paid in Gold and Silver

By Beacon Staff

Columbia Falls Rep. Jerry O’Neil has sent a letter to Montana Legislative Services requesting that he be paid in gold or silver.

The Republican, who was reelected to House District 3 last week, wrote: “It is very likely the bottom will fall out from under the U.S. dollar. Only so many dollars can be printed before they have no value. The Keynesian era of financing government with debt appears to be close to its demise.”

National news outlets, such as USA Today and POLITICO, have picked up on the story. And O’Neil acknowledged in his letter that he was reluctant to bring up the issue during previous legislatures because he “did not want to be branded as a fanatic.”

But during his most recent campaign, O’Neil said some of his constituents told him he was not honoring his oath to the U.S. Constitution, which he says requires that money be backed by gold or silver.

Chris Saeger, communications director with the Montana Democratic Party, said in a press release that O’Neil’s request showed that “Republican legislators and their allies are already trying to revive the 2011 session’s most embarrassing moments.”

For his part, O’Neil said that he hoped to set “an example for our Montana citizens and prompt them to also have some of their own wealth in money that has intrinsic value.”

Legislative services has not yet responded to his request.

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