Rich GOP Senate hopeful charged with impersonating a Montanan to skip paying government fees
Montana GOP Senate hopeful Troy Downing (image via Downing's campaign Facebook page).

Montana businessman and Republican Senate hopeful Troy Downing faces misdemeanor charges for trying to purchase Montana hunting and fishing licenses illegally as an out-of-state resident seven times, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported. Some Montana-based journalists have taken to jokingly calling the offense "impersonating a Montanan."

Along with citations for seven attempted purchases of state hunting and fishing licenses, Downing was also cited for "transferring a hunting license to another person and a ninth time for assisting an unqualified applicant in obtaining a hunting license," the Daily Chronicle reported.

In Montana, hunting licenses are roughly $20 for in-state residents, but can run up to $600 for out-of-state residents.

Downing, a member of the elite and "outrageously expensive" Yellowstone Club, reportedly entered the midterm race against Democratic Sen. John Tester (D-MT) after having dinner with then-Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT), who now serves as Interior Secretary. That dinner, which was also accompanied by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), "planted the seed" of his Congressional aspirations.

Zinke's wife Lolita, a Hispanic Republican profiled on the GOP's website last year, is Downing's campaign chairwoman. Much of his campaign messaging centers around "loving the outdoors."