As election season winds to a close Montana Gubernatorial Candidate Greg Gianforte says his first order of business will be to open an office of government Accountability, complete with a hotline for state employee whistleblowers. On Friday Gianforte highlighted two recent whistleblower cases in Montana, one at DPHHS and one at the Department of Commerce as evidence of a systematic problem.

"Well we have good whistleblower regulations today, but they are not being upheld," said Gianforte. "When good state employees raise their hand and say I think there is a way we can do things better or I think we have a problem over here, we should be putting those employees on a pedestal, but what has been happening is they've been getting kicked to the curb."

Gianforte says there may be many more cases of abuse, but that the silence of those discriminated against may have been purchased with $900,000 in Bullock administration “hush money”

"42 individual state employees and in certain cases these employees have alleged it was paid to cover up discrimination and other actions that honestly never saw the light of day," Gianforte said. "This is just wrong. In certain cases people are being paid tens of thousands of dollars to keep quiet and that's just not right."

The Gianforte campaign began running “hush money” ads against Incumbent Governor Steve Bullock after a story appeared in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle titled “Under Bullock, state has paid over $900,000 in settlements to state employees, most confidential.” The phrase “hush money” doesn’t actually appear in the original story.