Bullock Calls for $15 Federal Minimum Wage, Despite Paying His Interns $9 an Hour

Fall 2018 internships were unpaid

Gov. Steve Bullock/ Getty Images
July 24, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock has publicly supported a national minimum wage of $15 an hour, but his official office was advertising full-time internships earlier this summer that only paid his interns $9 an hour.

Bullock took to Twitter last week to call for the minimum wage to be raised by quoting a statement from President Donald Trump back in 2016, where he said, "I don't know how people make it on $7.25 an hour."

"They don't. #RaiseTheWage," Bullock tweeted.

Galia Slayen, the campaign spokeswoman for Bullock, told Vox last month that Bullock "supports raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, while recognizing regional differences — in some regions that may not be enough, while in others an increase to $15 over a greater period is warranted."

While Bullock has been vocal about his support of raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, his office was only offering $9 an hour for three full-time internships during the summer 2019 session. The internship posting specified interns would be required to work "at a minimum" from May or June through August in a "full-time capacity" of 40 hours per week.

Bullock's office was also advertising internship positions for Fall 2018 and the 2019 legislative session, but all the internship opportunities were unpaid, despite interns being required to work up to 40 hours per week.

The Washington Free Beacon reached out to the Bullock campaign to inquire whether his campaign was paying campaign interns, but did not receive a response by press time.

Paid internships became a major issue in Congress last fall in response to complaints about unpaid internships. Pay Our Interns, a nonprofit group advocating for more paid internships, published a report in 2017 that found more than 90 percent of House members don't pay their interns. The Huffington Post reported that the House of Representatives approved a "minibus" funding bill for the 2019 fiscal year, which set aside $14 million for the House and Senate to pay interns.

One of Bullock's opponents in the Democratic primary is paying his interns $15 an hour. Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) campaign interns are receiving stipends equivalent to $15 an hour, according to a job listing for his presidential campaign. Several of the other Democratic presidential campaigns are also offering paid internships.