From Bungalow Bill comes this 'hare-raising tale': "We Can't Have You Talking Bad About Billy": The Untold Story of Congressman Billy Long, the USDA, and Some Rabbits
The timing of the Springfield News-Leader's story of Billy Long's first year in office couldn't have been better. In the article Long states, "colleagues in Congress just care about getting re-elected." In the same week, the USDA dropped their fines against the John and Judy Dollarhite. There is an untold story here about a Congressman who only cared when some rabbits started to become a political liability for his own reelection chances.
I broke the Dollarhite story in May with the goal of it going viral in a short period of time. My blog challenged Congressman Long to stand up for his constituents on multiple occasions, the Dollarhites wrote letters to Long, and We Are Change Branson organized a USDA protest in front of Congressman Long's office. Congressman Long's office moved us off the property and then made claims against the protest they could not support claiming the protesters shouted obscenities to Long's staff.
And so the summer went by and the Dollarhites continued to carry this weight pretty much without the help of their Congressman. Long's office did reach out to the Dollarhites and let them know they wrote a letter to the USDA, but other than that, little was heard from Congressman Long and follow up was non-existent.
The Dollarhites spent their year attending political functions telling their story and gaining more and more support. This quiet Nixa family soon became a powerful voice against the federal leviathan. Fortunately, there are members in Congress that are truly fed up with big government. Senator Rand Paul reached out to the Dollarhite's in the fall and invited them to testify in front of a Senate committee. John and Judy were soon on the road to Washington.
Before they ever got to Washington, both Rand Paul's office and the Dollarhites made multiple attempts to contact Billy Long's office in hopes he would get involved and help the Dollarhite family out while in they were in DC. Long's office never once returned any of the calls. Long's office made no attempt to meet the Dollarhites while they were in Washington even with Senator Rand Paul getting involved.
The Dollarhites returned to Southwest Missouri with no attention from their Congressman. They attended the November Christian County Republican Committee meeting and shared with those in attendance the progress that had been made. It was noted at the meeting that Senator Roy Blunt and Congressman Long weren't giving the Dollarhites much help.
It turned out Mavis Busiek. long time Friends of Roy Blunt PAC head, was at the meeting. She wasn't happy the Dollarhites weren't being helped. Busiek promised the Dollarhites she would make calls to Washington to both Blunt and Long's offices to find out why this wasn't being addressed.
John Dollarhite says the very next day Glen Chambers, Roy Blunt's Chief of Staff, called him letting them know Senator Blunt's office was ready to help. Dollarhites had all but given up on Blunt. They had sent Blunt a letter in the spring noting the fine, and Blunt's office sent them back a form letter regarding horse slaughtering. While they were in DC, Blunt didn't seem very interested in helping the Dollarhites out as he walked down the halls of the Capitol with John and Judy rushing to get to a meeting, but for the first time since the fines were issued, they were encouraged by Blunt's office.
Long's office was still MIA even with Busiek demanding his office do something about it. On November 30, the realization of how big of a voice the Dollarhites had become must have begun to set in. The Dollarhites were invited to speak in Mount Vernon, Missouri, where a meeting was addressing the latest attempt to push Proposition B in Missouri took place. The Dollarhite's story soon became the center of focus at the meeting, and one attendee asked the one question that exposed just how much influence the Dollarhites now have in Congressional politics in Southwest Missouri.
The question was where is Billy Long in this matter. John Dollarhite said, well he wrote a letter, but other than that they had not heard much from Long's office. These farmers and agriculture minded people who were realizing what the USDA was becoming grew concerned quickly that their Congressman wasn't even in the middle of this battle. Well, someone from Long's office must have been at the meeting, because it didn't take long for them to respond.
Both John and Judy shared with me earlier this month they were contacted the very next day by Billy Long's office. "We can't have you talking bad about Congressman Long. What is it going to take to make you happy?" The representative from Long's office assured Dollarhite the office was "working in secret" on this matter. In secret? What is this a national security matter?
John was brief. He wanted Congressman Long to call him. At this point, Claire McCaskill had called them to help multiple times. Roy Blunt at least offered a meeting even though he seemed disinterested. These are US Senators and senators are in Congress to do the business of the states according to the Constitution. This was Billy Long's issue since Long is supposed to do the work of the people in his district in Congress.
Congressman Long did call John Dollarhite. Long was clearly out of touch on the issue noting he thought the fines were dropped months ago. Long said his office had been working on it, but when John drilled him on what they had done, Long couldn't cite any examples other than the letter. Judy asked Long why his office never reached out to them with a phone call to give them updates on what Long's office was doing. Long, a lifetime salesman, tried to wiggle his way out asking the Dollarhites to forget the past and just move forward, but it was apparent Long was out of touch on the matter and finally got involved knowing his reelection was coming with a challenge.
So from when the story broke in May, it took Long seven months to get fed up with big government coming down on one of his constituents. This story went viral quickly hitting Breitbart, Rush Limbaugh's show twice, and media all over the country. It was only when Mavis Busiek and other Missouri 7 Republicans pointed out to Long he was going to face a primary challenger and must take action as this story was hurting Long did Long finally get involved. By this time he did, the USDA had already been beat up by the support of freedom loving Americans who called the USDA in support for the Dollarhites, Missouri farmers, bloggers, conservative talk radio, Senator Rand Paul, Senator Claire McCaskill, and others. Long showed up to the fight late and piled on.
It's apparent Long is not much different than his colleagues. Reelection is the name of the game for Billy Long. Like Judy Dollarhite posted on Facebook, "we aren't naive about the timing."