A conservative Montana congressman who pleaded guilty to body slamming a reporter last year has contributed $10,000 to the New Jersey Republican State Committee, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Greg Gianforte was captured on tape assaulted the reporter, Ben Jacobs of The Guardian, and breaking his glasses. The image, coming the day before a special election for Montana’s lone House seat, made national news.
“Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground,” said Fox News reporter Alicia Acuna, who witnessed the event. She said Gianforte began punching Jacobs, saying he was “sick and tired of this.”
Gianforte initially blamed the reporter for his behavior and disputed the assault allegations. He backed down after other reporters corroborated Jacobs’s claims and an audio tape was released.
He won the election with 50.2% of the vote after three newspapers rescinded their endorsements.
A spokesperson for the Republican State Committee said that the state party is part of a joint fundraising agreement with the National Republican Congressional Committee and thirteen other state GOP organizations, and that New Jersey Republicans did not solicit a contribution from Gianforte.
Campaigning in Montana on October 19, President Donald Trump appeared to praise Gianforte for his handling of Jacobs.
“Any guy that can do a body slam – he’s my guy,” Trump said.
The contribution was made to the Republican state party’s federal campaign account.
The founder of a software company he sold to Oracle for $1.5 billion, Roll Calls says Gianforte is the second wealthiest member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Montana Republican been making large campaign contributions to state parties across the country. His wife, Susan Gianforte, also contributed $10,000 to the New Jersey Republicans.
Gianforte has ties to New Jersey: he is a graduate of Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken; his late father operated a bed and breakfast on Long Beach Island; and his brother, Michael Gianforte, is a Brielle councilman and executive director of the Two Rivers Water Reclamation Authority.