Monthly Archives: October 2012

Illegal Money Appearing in Legislative Races

A TEA Party candidate from Whitefish has gotten in on the illegal money game.  Tim Baldwin, son of Chuck Baldwin, is seeking to replace Derek Skees for the Whitefish House Seat.  As you can see from this screenshot of Baldwin’s campaign finance report, the TEA Partier has taken two donations well above the $160 limit.

Ironically, Baldwin has bragged about his “demonstrated skill is writing and understanding Montana Annotated Code” and his “understanding of our laws.”   If these claims were true he’d have given back the illegal money like GOP Attorney General candidate Tim Fox has done. 

There is no known tally of how much illegal money has made its way  into Montana legislative races across Montana.  Check the Office of Political Practices reports to see if your local candidates have taken illegal donations.

ATP “Meth House” Docs Contain Names of Shadow Group’s Legislative Candidates

Last night, FRONTLINE revealed that ATP documents found in a meth house appear to contain evidence of “possible illegal ‘coordination’ between” the group and the candidates it supported, the Atlantic reported.

The boxes contained files on Mike Miller, Ed Butcher, Bob Wagner, Wendy Warburton, Jerry O’Neil and Derek Skees, who is now a candidate for statewide office.  Butcher and Miller were discussed extensively on the FRONTLINE piece.  The other names you can see in these screenshots.

But that’s not the only juicy information thought to be lurking in those boxes.  They also contain ATP’s Wells Fargo bank statements, and the names of some of the groups secret donors.

The group filed a “motion for protective order” in court last month to try and require the Commissioner of Political Practices to keep these public documents secret because it contained the names of ATP donors.   The state of Montana and ATP have filed briefs on the question of whether they can be made public.  Thanks to tipsters you can download them here and here.


Watch FRONTLINE Expose: Big Sky Big Money Online Here

Tonight, the PBS investigative series FRONTLINE takes a look at the out-of-state groups working to buy our local elections.

The show looks into the files on 23 right-wing Montana candidates were found in a meth house in Colorado in a box labeled “Montana $ bomb.” The files contained information about how the American Tradition Partnership is manipulating Montana campaigns and elections.

Here’s the video:

Watch Big Sky, Big Money on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

In Flathead County, the Price of Transparency is $82.50 Per Email

A Flathead County official is claiming that citizens who want to see the public documents related to Dennis Rehberg’s boat crash must pay a photocopying fee of $82.50–even if no copies are made.

Flathead area blogger James Conner contacted the county requesting that a PDF of the Rehberg boat crash documents be made available electronically.   He was told that the hefty photocopying fee must be paid even if no photocopies were produced.  You can see the exchange for yourself at the Flathead Memo.

People of the Flathead, this is your county government in action.  If it costs them $82.50 to push the send button on an email, I’d hate to see what they charge for answering their own phones.


Hill Takes Hit in the Polls After Illegal $500,000 Donation, Tester’s Lead Over Rehberg Widens

The first public poll since former Congressman Rick Hill took an illegal $500,000 is out today.

The Pharos Research Group survey has Steve Bullock leading Rick Hill 47% – 44%.  The poll also shows that Tester’s lead against Rehberg is growing, although the race is still very close.  Bullock and Tester prevail in the survey despite a strong Republican sample.

Pharos Research Group conducted the live call poll of 799 likely voters in Montana from October 26 through October 28.  Of those polled, 31%  identified as Democrats, 43% identified as Republicans and 26% said they were Independents.

Forty-eight percent of those polled were men and 52% were women. You can read the entire poll here.