Shadow Groups Back at Work in GOP Primaries

The shadow group American Traditions Partnership is back working in Republican legislative races in Montana.  American Traditions Partnership (ATP) is the group that sued to deregulate elections and turn back MT’s 100 year old ban on corporate funding of elections.

ATP, which doesn’t disclose its donors, sent out a mailer supporting Dee Brown in the Republican primary for the Whitefish/Columbian Falls State Senate Seat, SD 2. Previously they favored TEA Party poster boy Rep. Derek Skees in the HD4 general.

HB 198 was a Republican bill passed by a Republican controlled Legislature. This demagoguing flier was mailed with heavy saturation in Whitefish and Columbia Falls. Here’s the mailer:

The Center for Responsive Politics estimated that Republican secret money groups outspent Democrats across the U.S. last election cycle by a 7-1 margin.   Here in Montana, ATP and other Republican-leaning groups spent an estimated $2-3 million attacking Democratic candidates and supporting TEA Party Republicans–but you can’t find the exact amount or who paid for it.  This is just one more reason why the Citizens United decision is so bad. The Supreme Court opined that voters could easily go to the internet to find out who paid for the campaign ads.  But GOP political operatives simply set up tax-exempt non-profit front groups like ATP to avoid  having to disclose their donors.   The front groups claimed that they were educating the public on issues rather than campaigning for candidates. Therefore, they argued, the disclosure wasn’t required.

Christ Matthews told Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer on Hardball recently that fewer than 50 wealthy individuals or corporations are spending the bulk of the money to influence elections this cycle.  Schweitzer was on the program to talk about his support for a ballot initiative in Montana to overturn Citizens United.

ATP is the lead plaintiff in the legal challenge to Montana’s ban on corporate spending for candidates.   The group touts their organization’s secrecy as a benefit of giving them money and have been under fire for corruption in Montana and other states.  Montana TEA Party legislator Art Wittich (R-TEA Bozeman) is said to be the new local figurehead for the entity.



18 Comments on "Shadow Groups Back at Work in GOP Primaries"

  1. Ingemar Johansson | May 21, 2012 9:11 AM at 9:11 AM |

    JUst wondering out loud. Is the communist party a corporation?

    By Aaron Klein, World Net Daily

    It may be early in the campaign season, but the Communist Party USA already has seen fit to endorse Barack Obama for the 2012 election.

    While noting he is disappointed with “some aspects” of the Obama administration’s domestic and foreign policy, Sam Webb, chairman of the Communist Party USA, threw his support behind Obama’s re-election bid.

    Read more:

  2. Damn This is great news too! Good Eye Lynn!

  3. 11th Amendment key to eviscerating CU: MoJo.

  4. What a bunch of Hogwash this American Traditions Partnership is. and what Liars as well! The GOP not the Dems did everything they could to make rich land owners and corporations push aside the say of regular people in the community’s and state they live in. Derek Skees That slimeball voted for all of these, and there is no Doubt their next Poster child Of ATF will slam Montanans with other wacked out laws like this as well

    HB219: House Bill 219 leaves out more than 75% of Montana taxpayers –ordinary, hard-working Montanans mostly earning less than $65,000 a year –from the tax breaks the bill provides. Instead, 80% of the tax benefits contained in HB 219 would go to those in higher income brackets.

    SB 415: would usurp the Land Board’s constitutional authority to determine oil and gas lease contract terms that are in the best interest of the state’s school trusts. Additionally, other Montana mineral owners could be affected.
    Wellhead contracts are typically offered by producers to private mineral owners because they allow royalty deductions favorable to the oil and gas producer. The Land Board, on behalf of the school trusts, has chosen not to utilize industry-developed contract terms.

    The fiscal impacts of potentially significant lost revenue to the state, is approximately $1 million over the next four years, increasing to $2.5 million per year over the long term. These figures are supported by the fact that recent audits recovered $1.2 million in school trust revenue that would not have been received under SB 415. This is just a bill to screw the state out of money for the schools in our state! Peotecting oilman and gasmen instead of our future!

    SB358: The most important problem with SB 358 is one that would endanger the State’s constitutional obligation to equalize the funding of schools. Taking away, tens of millions of dollars from state school funding!

    SB 253: Would repeal clean energy tax credits that have served as crucial agents of economic growth, and jobs. To repeal these credits would be to subtract jobs in Montana’s energy, construction, and agriculture sectors. In repealing these tax credits, SB 253 is also the single largest tax increase proposed by the 2011 Legislature.

    SB 106: Spending up to 300,000 dollars of Montanan’s Tax Money to be a friend of the court, in the republican health debate . Literally, friend of the court means: A person with strong interest in or views on the subject matter of an action, but not a party to the action, may petition the court for permission to file a brief, ostensibly on behalf of a party but actually to suggest a rationale consistent with its own views.

    Honestly, alot of these briefs are not even read by the Supreme Court, they only make certain lawyers richer on our dime.

    The Governor laid out several conditions for signing the bill into law. First, he restated what legislative lawyers have already said–that the legislature can’t force the Attorney General to do anything–so he said the legislature must change the bill to state they are simply urging him to join the lawsuit.

    Second, the Governor acknowledged that joining this lawsuit would be extremely costly to Montana taxpayers, so to offset the costs, the Legislators who supported the bill would be required to give up half of their health insurance stipend paid for by the taxpayers, to pay for this bill. Since republicans like Jeff refused to put their state health care benefits at risk, to pay for the bill, the Govenor Vetoed it!

  5. Lobbying is today a completely open and legal way of bribing our elected officials, but what’s a multi-national corporation to do when those pesky citizens keep getting in the way?
    How about legalizing disinformation?
    Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  6. Norm Ornstein at the Commonwealth Club: SCOTUS tribalistic:

  7. […] American Tradition Partnership has been sending out attack ads to influence the outcome of a Republican legislative election slated for the state’s June 5 primaries. […]

  8. Congrats Cowgirl on making the Huffington Post!

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