Rosendale weighs in on opposition to Ukraine funding, beginning with remark by state lawmaker

By: - February 3, 2023 2:39 pm

Rep. Greg Kmetz, R-Miles City, speaks during a hearing about Ukraine in the Montana House Energy, Technology and Federal Relations Committee (Photo courtesy of Montana Public Access Network).

From Kiev to Helena is just more than 5,300 miles, but the war in Ukraine became a political topic in Montana as Congressman Matt Rosendale drew strong criticism in the state and from his opponents for being one of a few members to repeatedly vote against federal support.

Rosendale remained fairly demure on the subject, but on Monday at the Montana Capitol, Rep. Greg Kmetz, R-Miles City, explained to the Montana House, Energy, Technology and Federal Relations Committee why he had concerns with a resolution to support America’s efforts to aid Ukraine.

Rep. Tom France, D-Missoula, is carrying House Resolution 3, “Resolution to support Ukraine and U.S. policies that aid Ukraine.” The three-page resolution supports America’s participation and “stands steadfastly, staunchly, and proudly behind the Ukrainian people in their fight against the authoritarian (Vladimir) Putin regime.”

Resolutions in the Montana Legislature are largely symbolic and express collective sentiment of lawmakers, but have no force of law.

Kmetz told lawmakers:

“I sure appreciate your comments and agree with them, but the level of corruption that we have seen in Ukraine is off the chart. We held a rally in Miles City with Rep. Rosendale, and everybody had left the rally and it was just him and me. I said, ‘I really appreciate you not voting to send $40 billion to Ukraine,’ and he said, ‘Do you know what happened to the money?’ – and this is a United States Representative, and he should know. He said the second President (Volodymyr) Zelenskyy got that money he converted it to Bitcoin and it’s gone and it’s untrackable, so I, too, am concerned about the corruption over there.”


According to multiple media reports, Ukraine recently authorized Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency, especially as that war takes a toll on its economy, but no credible allegation regarding the U.S. money disappearing via cryptocurrency and Ukraine has surfaced.

When contacted on Wednesday, a staff spokesperson for Rosendale denied the conversation and explained the Montana Republican’s stance on Ukraine:

“The comments below do not reflect any statements the Congressman has made on Ukraine – but Congressman Rosendale has called for transparency regarding President Zelenskyy’s use of American taxpayer dollars, roughly $50 billion, that the administration has already sent to Ukraine. Last year, the Congressman was an original cosponsor of a resolution directing the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State to send Congress documents needed to audit American funding to Ukraine. This bill was in partial response to President Zelenskyy recognizing the use of cryptocurrency in Ukraine, and the Ukrainian government’s investments in FTX.”

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Darrell Ehrlick
Darrell Ehrlick

Darrell Ehrlick is the editor-in-chief of the Daily Montanan, after leading his native state’s largest paper, The Billings Gazette. He is an award-winning journalist, author, historian and teacher, whose career has taken him to North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Utah, and Wyoming.