On May 24, 2017, Guardian Reporter Ben Jacobs attempted to interview Republican candidate Gianforte. Without provocation Gianforte body slammed Jacobs to the ground and punched him an unknown number of times. Gianforte’s campaign tried to spread the story that a liberal reporter had come to cause all kinds of problems and was the cause of the attack. Incredibly it was Fox News reporters and cameramen were there and denied that Jacobs had done anything aggressive.
Sheriff Gootkin, who donated to Gianforte’s campaign, did not initially do anything to investigate the incident but once it made the national news he had the assault investigated and charged Gianforte with misdemeanor assault. Apparently the Republicans of Montana (or anywhere else) have no problem with their representatives committing criminal acts. Gianforte was elected into office AFTER his attack on the reporter.