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HomeNewsMontana NewsDowning hires Democrat lobbyist for Auditors office

Downing hires Democrat lobbyist for Auditors office

Republican Auditor pays Democrat lobbyist $126,000 a year to join his team

Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Troy Downing announced the appointment of Frank Cote as government affairs director.

Cote, a longtime Democrat lobbyist, previously worked for two different Democrats that held the office. Cote served in the administrations of both Mark O’Keefe and John Morrision.
Public records show that Cote has donated more than $20,000 to Montana Democrat candidates for various offices.

Cote’s compensation is $126,000 per year.

“Cote is a great addition to an already intelligent, hard-working and dedicated team. His experience at CSI and in private industry is invaluable in fulfilling our charge as a criminal justice and consumer protection agency,” Commissioner Downing said. “His experience working with the Montana Legislature is incredibly valuable as we move forward with our legislative priorities to protect Montana consumers and promote Montana industry.”

In January of 1993, Cote joined the Montana State Auditor’s Office under Commissioner Mark O’Keefe and served as the deputy insurance commissioner until November of 1999. Cote then opened his own consulting/lobbying and government relations firm. Cote was retained by Commissioner John Morrison to rehabilitate the Montana Benefits and Life Company.

In 2008, Cote joined Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT) as the senior director of government relations. In 2012, Cote assumed the role of vice president of sales and account management, in addition to his public and government relations duties. At the end of 2017, he retired from BCBSMT.

Cote also lobbied for labor unions, hospitals and liberal special interest groups.

By: Montana Newsroom staff

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