Montana Citizens Opposing Political Corruption
From Corporate Contributions
WILL WE EVER LEARN?
Over 100 years ago, Montanans meekly handed over the major portion of our water rights to the mining corporations that ran the state. To this day, we have yet to regain those rights.
Will the same thing happen to the farmer's right to use the land?
Today, there is one significant difference. When Montanans fought to hold their water rights they did not yet have the powers of initiative and referendum. But today we do.
J.C. Murphy tells the sordid tale in:
A Comical History of Montana, a Serious Story for Free People. 1912. Pages 224 -228
“The Amalgamated Copper Company became a holding company and acquired controlling interest or complete ownership and management of various large and valuable competing mining and smelting companies in the state of Montana,...”
“In 1907 the copper combine people had entered upon the project of securing control of the incalculably valuable water power rights in the great rivers of Montana. One of the companies, subsequently absorbed by them, planned an important development on the Missouri river near Helena. The construction of the proposed dam necessitated the flooding of a large land area, including some placer mine properties ... a bill was introduced in the legislature extending the right of eminent domain to foreign corporations. The power company instituted new proceedings to condemn the property for public use.”
“The owners resisted and pleaded the unconstitutionality of the act. The supreme court upheld the law....”
“This legislation was not secured with honest argument or through legislative ignorance or innocence. Able and upright men exposed and denounced it before committees and on the floors of both chambers. The mere source of it, the silence of the combine press regarding it, the enormous combine lobby gathered at Helena in promotion of it, the palpably false and ridiculously foolish explanations of its purpose by its sponsors—any one of these should have been sufficient to put a legislator with ordinary intelligence or a spark of integrity upon his guard, without any opposition....”