Fireworks at Montana PSC

The Montana Legislature convened on Monday with Democrats and Republicans exchanging hugs and handshakes on the House floor.

The same can not be said for the Montana Public Service Commission, where an impasse among the body’s Republican members has lead to an interesting procedural conundrum and some heated words between two GOP commission members.

Travis Kavulla presented fellow Republican Brad Molnar with a proposed “Chairman’s Code of Conduct,” a list of nine conditions that Molnar would have to agree to in order to get Kavulla’s vote for chairmanship.

Here’s what transpired in the PSC meeting room between votes when Kavulla asked Molnar if he was willing to negotiate. I hit the record button late and missed the most “colorful” parts of the exchange:

I’ll update more later. The meeting is in recess until 2:50.

You can watch live when the PSC reconvenes.

UPDATE: After repeatedly failing to elect a new chairman, the commission recessed until Tuesday. In a surprising turn of events, Travis Kavulla nominated himself for the post. The panel voted 4-1 against Kavulla.

The breakdown on repeated votes was as follows:

Gallagher nominated Molnar. Gallagher and Molnar voted yes, Gutsche and Vincent voted no, Kavulla abstained.

Vincent nominated Gutsche. Vincent and Gutsche voted yes, Gallagher, Molnar and Kavulla voted no.

Kavulla repeatedly nominated Gallagher. Gallagher repeatedly declined the nomination.

Kavulla then nominated himself. Kavulla voted yes, Gallagher, Molnar, Vincent and Gutsche voted no.

And so we pick this up again tomorrow!

Here’s the “Code of Conduct” that Kavulla wants Molnar to agree to and sign in order for Molnar to secure Kavulla’s vote for the PSC Chairmanship. Sorry about the poor quality but I had to take a photo of it with my phone.

When presented with the document, Molnar responded, in front of myself and Lee Newspapers reporter Mike Dennison, that he “would be the biggest lowlife motherf***er who ever climbed out from under a rock,” if he signed Kavulla’s list of demands.

UPDATE: Molnar presented this “Kavulla Karta” to reporters after the exchange above. Who said the PSC isn’t exciting?