A Montana State lawmaker sent a letter expressing a lack of faith in the U.S. dollar and asking the Legislature to pay his annual $7,000 salary in gold. The State says it isn’t going to happen.
Representative Jerry O’Neil, a Republican, said he requested the salary in coins because gold-advocating constituents told him that he was violating his Constitutional duty by accepting fiat dollars not backed by gold as payment.
“I believe that if you take a look at the Constitution, that’s what it says. Actually, I think we’ve gotten a tremendously long way from it,” O’Neil said of a Constitutional mandate that government debts be paid with gold-backed money.
“If we don’t start paying that debt down, we’re going to lose the country,” he told POLITICO.
But Jaret Coles, a legislative staff attorney for the State, says that O’Neil isn’t going to receive gold as payment for his service.
“The United States Constitution does not require states to pay debts in gold and silver. Additionally, there is no specific authority in the Montana Code Annotated for an agency to pay debts using gold or silver for services,” according to Coles.
O’Neil said that since the State will not comply with his request, he’s considering having his paycheck direct deposited to a coin dealer and then collecting the sum in gold and silver coin.