GREAT FALLS — A new report by the Montana Human Rights Action Network levels some serious claims against Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter.
Slaughter is not only disputing the contents of the document, but wondering why he’s a target.
The report from is titled, “Slaughtering the Constitution: Cascade County Sheriff Embraces Sheriff Supremacy." Click here to read the report.
It refers to Slaughter as Montana’s most prominent “Constitutional sheriff,” a term that MHRAN research director Travis McAdam says sounds patriotic but is misleading.
“At the end of the day, it’s based on a misinterpretation of the Constitution, it’s based on bad revisionist history that gives sheriffs powers that they don’t really have,” said McAdam.
Slaughter sees nothing wrong with the term “Constitutional sheriff,” saying to him, it means his oath.
Extended interview with Slaughter:
“I solemnly swore to protect the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the state of Montana and discharge the twelve duties of the office of the sheriff,” said Slaughter. “That’s what I did. And I did it with fidelity and I did it before God, that’s exactly what the oath says.”
The report questions Slaughter’s affiliation with what it calls national extremist groups, such as the Constitutional Sheriff’s Peace Officers Association, led by former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack.
“Way back in the 1990’s when he (Mack) was sheriff, he filed a lawsuit against the federal government around the Brady Bill,” said McAdam. “As his lawsuit was going around and it did finally make it to the U.S. Supreme Court, he basically went out and became a very prominent speaker on the militia movement speaking circuit.”
Slaughter, who has appeared with Mack on a podcast, says he’s not beholden to Mack’s style.
“I just look at him as another sheriff out there,” said Slaugter. “He has an association, there’s some interesting stuff on there that I read about and learn about. But I just look at him as another former sheriff in the country. I don’t think of him as anything remarkable or to that effect.”
The report is also critical of Slaughter’s involvement with Protect America Now, led by southern border sheriff Mark Lamb, and his endorsement by the Montana Shooting Sports Association, a prominent gun rights group that McAdam says has a history of pushing anti-government movement ideas.
“Their founder, Gary Marbutt, has offered organizing tips to militias in the past,” said McAdam. “He’s written about many of these one-world government conspiracy theories.”
Slaughter says he’s a member of the MSSA and welcomed their endorsement.
“They endorsed me because of my pro-2nd Amendment views, because I do believe that it is the right of the people to keep and bear arms and it should not ever be infringed,” said Slaughter.
Other highlights of the report include Slaughter’s distribution of Constitutional materials in rural schools and his time spent testifying at the 2021 Montana Legislative session.
McAdam says MHRAN is a non-partisan organization. He says the timing of the report has nothing to do with the election cycle.
Slaughter disagrees, noting that the report came out the same day mail-in ballots for the election went out.
Slaughter, who switched parties last year, is running for re-election. His primary opponent is Jay Groskreutz. But he won’t have to wait until November to see if he retains the seat - Cascade County Democrats don’t have a candidate, meaning the winner of the June primary will get the job.