Former University of Montana law professor Rob Natelson said on a KGVO radio talk show in Missoula on Tuesday, June 4, that he believed he was targeted for two audits by the Montana Department of Revenue after publicly criticizing then Governor Marc Racicot.

"In the mid 1990's, I was head of a group called Montanans For Better Government, and I was very critical of then governor Marc Racicot," Natelson said. "I found myself audited for two straight years by the Montana Department of Revenue under very suspicious circumstances. I was audited under circumstances under which almost no one is ever audited. I think I was audited shortly after I turned down an invitation by Mick Robinson, head of the Department of Revenue, to join one of the governor's task forces"

At the time, Natelson wrestled with the decision on whether or not to bring the audits to the public's attention.

"As a result of all this, I had to make a decision as to whether to tell people I had been audited," Natelson said. "I decided not to, because there were all sorts of people who would have thought the worst of me, and would have said 'well, where there's smoke, there's fire,' or, 'Natelson's just griping again,' or, 'he's got a persecution complex,' or whatever."

Natelson said many in the public eye struggle with such a decision.

"A lot of people, a lot of prominent people, people involved in politics, are faced with that kind of decision," Natelson said. "Should I say anything publicly, because after all you don't have absolute proof the audit was politically motivated, you only suspect that it was.I could almost dictate what the Great Falls Tribune would have said about my 'whining', if I had made that charge."

Natelson, a University of Montana law professor for over 20 years, ran unsuccessfully against Marc Racicot for the 2000 Republican gubernatorial nomination.He made the comments during the KGVO Radio Talk Back talk show, after addressing a listener's question as to whether the Obama administration may have been involved in the recent IRS scandal in Washington, D.C. Natelson is currently the Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence at the Independence Institute in Denver, Colorado.

Rob Natelson of the Independence Institute