BILLINGS – Montana Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte reported income of $184 million and paid $30.5 million in state and federal taxes over a 10-year period ending in 2018, according to tax returns released by his campaign Wednesday.
Gianforte, one of the richest members of Congress, faces Democratic Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney in the November election to succeed Gov. Steve Bullock.
Democrats have tried to turn Gianforte’s huge wealth into a liability, alleging he wants to buy the election. Similar charges were made by Attorney General Tim Fox during the Republican primary that Gianforte won by a 26-percentage point margin.
Campaign spokesman Travis Hall said Gianforte and running mate Kristen Juras released the summary pages of their tax returns to set an example of openness and accountability.
“While these disclosures are not required by law, Greg and Kristen are being proactively transparent with Montanans,” Hall said in a statement.
Gianforte, a former technology executive from Bozeman, spent more than $5 million of his own money in a failed bid for governor in 2016. He has reported loaning just over $1.5 million to his 2020 campaign.
He made most of his income during the last decade over two years, 2011 and 2012, when Oracle was acquiring Gianforte’s RightNow Technologies for $1.8 billion.
The campaign released portions of their state and federal returns from 2009-2018 for Gianforte and 2010-2019 for Juras.
Cooney and running mate Casey Schreiner plan to release their returns on July 15, Tax Day, said campaign spokesperson Ronja Abel.
Abel alleged that the timing of Gianforte’s release – days before the July 4 holiday weekend – appeared designed to minimize public scrutiny.
“It’s clear Greg Gianforte is trying to bury another reminder that he’s a multimillionaire from New Jersey who doesn’t meet with voters because he believes he can buy the election with his personal wealth,” she said.
Gianforte was raised in Wayne, Pennsylvania, and attended school in New Jersey. He moved to Montana in 1995 and founded RightNow Technologies two years later.
During his 2016 bid for governor, he released tax returns showing income of $220.5 million between 2005 and 2014.
Bullock is prevented from seeking a third term in Helena due to term limits. He’s seeking to unseat U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, who worked under Gianforte at RightNow Technologies before entering politics.
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