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.

Posted: October 30, 2012 at 8:50 pm

This post was written by Cowgirl

24 thoughts on “Watch FRONTLINE Expose: Big Sky Big Money Online Here

  1. Jan Thomas

    Wow where to start. First, I think it was interesting that Rep. Mike Miller is one of the candidates that was elected by ATP or one of their other fake shadow groups. A group called “Mothers Against Child Predators” sent mailers out against his opponent. So that’s disgusting.

    Second I think Steve Bullock really shines in this program. We must elect him as Governor. Rick Hill would sell of the state to the highest bidder, piece by piece.

  2. Havre Voter

    Frontline reports that this is evidence of illegal coordination between “independent expenditure groups” and campaigns. Fast forward to 40 minutes in to the documentary to see the coordination portion of the show.

  3. Paul S.

    Ed Butcher, Wesley Prouse, Mike Miller, Derek Skees, and others – WTP/ATP sent questionnaires to candidates and their wives, then used the information to send information pretending to be from the campaigns but actually funded by ATP in the form of these “wife letters” and letters from candidates to voters. The wife letters all had the same handwriting!! That’s the reason behind all the signatures Skees sent ATP.

    “WTP was running a lot of these campaigns.” This is clearly not legal.

    1. Havre Voter

      That’s a little suspicious given optimums interest in making sure we get a GOP legislature so they can push their certainly assessed tax loophole through the next legislature. These fine folks are claiming that their transmission lines are not a really a muti-million dollar transmission network to avoid payong their share of taxes for education. they want instead to have heir taxes assessed as individual telephone poles or pieces of cable line. That way they can skate through without being taxes on the true value of their property.

      1. Brigham

        It was ridiculously shady of Optimum to not broadcast this.

        But it isn’t surprising Optimum helped protect the corrupt. Not only are they the biggest beneficiaries of the illegal revenue funding ads, the only legislators who are going to vote for their tax shenanigans are — by definition — corrupt.

        Nobody doing the people’s business would throw out 80 years of tax fairness and raise taxes on Montanans to cut taxes on out-of-state corporations.

        Tonight’s censorship sent a clear message to Montanans that Optimum is not an honorable company, they’re just another shady out-of-state corporation trying to loot Montana.

        And Optimum will apparently censor Pulitizer quality journalism to advance their scheme to screw over Montana.

  4. Jack Ruby

    Maybe mike miller would like to provide an explanation here since he refused to talk on camera. Mike?

    1. Tragic City

      The scenes about Mike Miller were a complete embarrassment. And that GOP lawyer did not present himself very well either. Yikes.

  5. Yvette

    I think it’s time to upgrade the server here Cowgirl. This site is starting to lag under heavy traffic. Just a friendly suggestion.

  6. Jennifer Davies

    Some questions:

    Why was Frontline allowed to see these documents and the rest of Montana’s citizens were not? Why are other reporters not allowed access to these files? Why are these public records not being made public? I’m losing track of all the ATP lawsuits these days. Did they file a suit to get these sealed after the frontline investigators came out to tape this show?

    1. Kicking Bird

      Montana reporters are allowed to see all of this stuff. They are just to lazy and incompetent to look into the matter.

    2. Brigham

      These documents have been public for months, COPP only closed them to the public after ATP freaked out about their corruption being exposed.

    3. Matt

      This is pretty nifty.
      John Adam asks ATP if they wrote letter for candidates and their wives – Y/N. And ATP responds with:

      @TribLowdown No. ATP/WTP has no relation to those documents. PBS admitted that.


      @TribLowdown And you do realize claiming the actions of one consultant are those of a group is legally actionable?

      The last is priceless – basically “be afraid, we’ll sue you for reporting any of this”

      See it here:

  7. Tim

    The documents need to be released now. Period. End of story. We already know ATP’s first bankroller is Jake Jabs, a Colorado furniture business owner ridiculed on South Park for his ubiquitous ads. This is him, ATP put him on their IRS paperwork filings as their founding donor for $300,000– and here is the article where he and ATP tries to lie and claim they don’t remember if it was him or not.

    1. Rob Kailey

      Jabs “vehemently denied” giving WTP/ATP any money at all, and effectively accused them of fraud in signing his name to funds he never gave.

      Bozeman Chronicle, 10-30-12

      Jabs’ denial adds a whole new level of legal nastiness to this affair, which could potentially negatively impact MSU and Montana, all going back to Sinrud and the WTP.

  8. yea right

    So I got one of the “wife letters” last two cycles from joann miller Mike’s wife. the interesting thing was that the post mark was helmville. =So that means someone from ATP wrote the letters and addressed them and then mailed them to Helmville for mailing. i wonder who in Helmville would have sent those letters? HMM i wonder?

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