Americans for Prosperity Sends Its Luxury Bus Over the Cliff

It is every astroturf special interest front group’s worst nightmare: the moment when, despite their best efforts to carefully orchestrate each facet of the campaign, reality comes crashing down–sending the movement careening into crackpot-ville for good.

This is that moment for Americans for Prosperity, the group funded by the Koch brothers to trick people into thinking that the TEA Party was a grassroots uprising. Rumors are circulating that the front group has selected a new leader for the Montana chapter. Henry Kriegel is to be the group’s new figurehead, replacing Scott Sales, if the rumors are true. Right now, Kriegel is the organization’s number two, but word is he’s getting called up for prime time.

Montana Cowgirl readers know Henry Kriegel well.  He’s a right-wing nutjob, former New Yorker, radio-host, and the leader of the Bozeman TEA Party.

A few years ago, Henry Kriegel was busted by the IRS for failing to pay a fortune in income taxes.  Somehow, he got a bankruptcy court to let him off the hook on a large portion of it. Kriegel told reporters that he didn’t believe his tax history should keep him from speaking out about tax reform (in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle on June 15, 2009).  It may not keep him from speaking out,  but it keeps him from doing so with any credibility. Having Kriegel lead the charge against taxes is like tapping Bernie Madoff to campaign against tighter securities regulation.

That’s not the only skeleton in Kriegel’s closet. It turns out that  Kriegel has been a high-ranking member of the Church Universal and Triumphant, also known as CUT. In fact, Kriegel was actually featured a while back in an LA Times article about people who wander off and get caught up in cult-like religious movements.  An “out-of-stater” (to use a Republican phrase), Kriegel is from New York and left the east coast on a soul search, came to Montana, and joined up with CUT.  During the 1990s, Kriegel spoke out against the deprogramming efforts of anti-cult activists, saying he was the “victim of an attempted deprogramming” by people opposed to his CUT membership. (Bozeman Daily Chronicle, March 15, 1992.)

Wikipedia says that CUT members worship, among other things,

“esoteric mysticism, the paranormal and alchemy, with a belief in angels, elves, fairies, and other beings…such as Sanat Kumara, Maitreya, Djwal Khul, El Morya, Kuthumi, Paul the Venetian, Serapis Bey, the Master Hilarion, Lanto, Lady Master Nada, Godfre, Lady Master Lotus, and Lanello, Enoch and Elohim.”

But even better, CUT was the bunch who believed that the world was going to end of a nuclear holocaust at a particular hour and minute on April 23, 1990. They built a massive underground bomb shelter up near Gardiner, MT and stocked it to the rafters with illegally purchased semi-automatic weapons, in preparation for The End (as reported by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Feb. 27, 1995; Bozeman Daily Chronicle, March 14, 1995).

But I guess none of this was enough wacky for Kriegel, so he went looking for another fringe sect.   He definitely found it in Americans for Prosperity.

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22 Comments on "Americans for Prosperity Sends Its Luxury Bus Over the Cliff"

  1. Henry Kriege spreading pixie dust around Montana….. now there’s a child’s worst nightmare starting to unfold!

  2. IS BIGOTRY OK IF THE TARGET IS RELIGION?
    THE CHURCH UNIVERSAL AND TRIUMPHANT IS A BIT STRANGE, BUT SO ARE CATHOLICS, LUTHERANS, SHRINERS AND ANYONE WHO ISN’T ME. A CULT IS ANY CHURCH SMALLER THAN MINE.

    • Dude, caplocks is not your friend. Your comment comes off kind of freakish. Don’t do that.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | October 3, 2011 7:23 PM at 7:23 PM |

      I seriously doubt that this is THE Roger Clawson of Billings fame. I wonder if the real Clawson knows that you’re using his name, little guy.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | October 3, 2011 8:59 PM at 8:59 PM |

      p.s. Roger, I went back and re-read the post. Sorry, but I see no bigotry there at all, just facts and factual reporting. Look, dude, I suggest that you have a nice ritual enema, fondle your weapons, pray to Lady Master Lotus, meditate in your bunker and wait for the end times and chill out, for no one is being the least bit intolerant here to your religion. HEY, I’m kinda down with it myself. In fact, I’m thinkin’ that that Master Hilarious dude must be real good, ’cause your religion is funny as hell!

      But please, Rog, understand that no one is being bigoted toward Krigel’s Ecclesiatic Enemas! The way to heaven is through a man’s poop shoot! Or sumthin’ like that.

    • Then the other side speaks and…. Removes all doubt… The article was spot on!

  3. @ “Roger” Yeah especially Catholics. At least we have no evidence of the CUT hiding pedophiles like the Helena Catholic Bishops. There is a special place in hell for them I believe.

  4. Religion that stockpiles weapons in a bunker is not just a religion, but a militia as well.

  5. Thanks for reporting on Kriegel. I’d like to ad one item you missed.

    You see boys and girls, back in the 1980’s, our man Kriegel was involved with a little group known as the Committee for a Free Afghanistan. He eventually became the groups executive director. This Committee directly funded, armed, and trained most of the seven Mujahidin factions present in Afghanistan during the 1980s. Many of these arms “somehow” ended up in the hands of the group that was to become the Taliban…to be used for their own terrorist purposes of course.

    Of course, since we live in a state where reporters don’t know how to google, nobody knows about this yet.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | October 3, 2011 9:46 PM at 9:46 PM |

      Kriegel doesn’t seem smart enough to do something like that. What am I missing? What talent could a loser like that possibly have that would enable him to “train” an Afghan? Doesn’t compute.

    • kv…

      how does that differ from “official” policy of that day?
      unkie sham funded been laughing.

      • I’m not sure what you’re talking about buddy. My point is what kind of freak sets up a non profit to fund terrorist activities. This kind.

      • my point was…

        in those daze we were busily pumping $60 bil to o sammy…
        so AS A NATION we were intentionally funding terrorism.
        nothing new to the greatest christian nation on the planet.

  6. And let’s not forget. This group f*ed it big time. Their “help” accidentally led the the rise of an armed Taliban. They (hopefully) didn’t intend this. But their bungling helped it happen.

  7. ‘The True Believer’ by Eric Hoffer helped me understand why some people behave the way they do.

  8. What happened to Scotty? He didn’t last very long.

  9. Lets not forget that that the Occupy wall st people Have been able to voice their concerns rather well now( Finely some coverage, even though the crowds are a lot bigger then the tea party ever had). These regular folk are protesting non violently, without the use of guns strapped to the waists, and threats of using them like the tea party dopes did!

    The protests on wall Street… A lot more like the real tea party on that cold December Boston evening… That did no damage to the boats that carried the tea… and threaten no one as they threw it over the railings and into the harbor… I repeat no one was hurt on the boats>>> Now this is truly the unfolding of democracy, and without the aid of astro-turfing GOP money!!!!

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