An FBI investigation into a plot to kill Alaska state troopers was prompted by a right-wing conference in Montana that featured speeches by those involved in the plot, new court documents show.
Media Matters is reporting this week on the Montana angle of the story of Schaefer Cox, who has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder (among other things). Cox was a featured speaker at the Celebrating Conservatism convention (also called the Liberty Convention), where he bragged in front of the audience about commanding a 3,500 strong armed militia and creating a new court system to supplant federal courts.
“According to the new documents, FBI agents began investigating Cox following a series of speeches he gave in Montana in 2009 and 2010.”
You can read more here about the specifics of Shaeffer Cox’s plot. Media Matters goes on to write that
“Although it’s unclear from the court filing who exactly sponsored the Montana gathering where Cox made his speeches or who recorded his comments, it does report that several concerned citizens approached the FBI in Montana in 2010 to express their concern over Cox advocating violence and calling for the overthrow of the government.
It may be unclear from the court filing who sponsored the gathering, but it has always been clear to anyone who reads the Cowgirl blog. We reported here in 2010 that Rick Breckenridge was a platinum sponsor of “Liberty Convention 2010”. Breckenridge was a candidate for the GOP chairmanship in 2008, and was also campaign treasurer for Derek Skees when he ran for Whitefish legislator. Skees is now a statewide candidate, for the job of State Auditor. Skees later admitted to attending the conference.
As we reported at the time, the “Liberty Convention 2010” was a nest for white supremacists, racists, anti-Semites and militia figures, as well as just plain-old right wing nutjobs. This blog strongly suggested that the media should inquire further as to who, among GOP politicians in this state, was in attendance, but mostly to no avail.
Only the Flathead Beacon seemed interested in looking into the matter. They interviewed Skees, and he said that yes, he attended the conference, but that “he wasn’t aware that any extremists would be there“ or aware of the speakers views, event though people like Chuck Baldwin, Shaffer Cox, Red Beckman were on the program, and even though Skees’ own campaign treasurer was one of the main sponsors of the event.
It can be assumed safely that other GOP officials and candidates were at the conference, but it will require investigative reporting to confirm to this.