Posted: January 8, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Bullock on National Radar

Montana Governor Steve Bullock’s election and fight for clean campaigns are garnering national attention this week, earning Montana a spot among the Huffington Post’s 25 best progressive victories of 2012.

Peter Drier writes:

The Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling in 2010 — equating money with free speech — unleashed a flood of money from billionaires and corporations, much of it through hard-to-trace “super-PACs” and so-called “social welfare” organizations.

In the wake of that ruling, Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock defended his state’s Corrupt Practices Act, which banned corporate campaign funds, all the way to the Supreme Court. The court overturned the Montana law 5 to 4, undermining the ability of states and cities to restrict corporations from trying to buy elections.

Although Bullock lost that fight, Montanans admired his populist ideals and elected him governor in November. That same day, Montana voters also supported Initiative I-166, which endorsed a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, by a 74.8 percent margin.

The final shoe dropped this week on one group that tried to keep Bullock out of the governor’s office. The criminal enterprise ”social welfare organization” known as American Tradition Partnership (ATP), a group that has spent millions of dollars in Montana electing (or trying to elect) GOP candidates like Bullock’s opponent Rick Hill while defiantly ignoring state campaign finance rules.

The group, laughably, tried to argue that their mailers and other advertisements spreading lies about Democratic candidates in 2010 and 2012 were not “political activity” as defined under Montana law.  Rather, ATP argued, these ads and mailers were “issue advocacy.”

Among the many shameful examples of this group’s “advocacy” for “issues” was a fake newspaper circulated widely during the Bullock-Hill contest for governor, which depicted Steve Bullock in a lineup of sex offenders.  This was ATP’s way of “advocating” for tougher sentences for sex offenders, which they claimed (falsely, of course) Bullock was opposed to.  So that gives you a flavor of the type of business this group is in.  By the way, the ATP’s headquarters is a P.O. Box at a mall in Washington, DC, a fact uncovered by the great PBS documentary that shed light on this miserable group back in October.

There are also some fifteen GOP legislators who owe their seats to the ATP (which spent enormous sums of money putting them in office) and are now in hot water because they appear to have been engaged in possible illegal coordination with the group.  One of ATP’s favorite tricks was to send out mass-produced, hand-written letters that appeared to come from a candidate’s wife, a scheme that would appear to break the firewall that is supposed to exist between third-party groups and candidates.

Ironically, these letters are now the subject of a lawsuit by Republican legislators against their former primary opponents, as reported in the Bozeman Chronicle reported.  Meanwhile, the Missoula Independent  reported that more “wife letters” from other GOP races surfaced this week.

ATP’s only staff person, Donny Ferguson, recently resigned.

What does any of this mean going forward? Most likely there will be fines, but I doubt any lawmakers will be forced to resign their seats.

 

11 comments

    • Lynn

      I’ll believe Corporations are people when Texas “Excutes” one and the CEO’s and excetive officers are in Gitmo for Twenty years

  1. MTNativeEyes

    This may not be as punchy and glam as the Rev. Pitman and his raunchy biz practices, but, damn, this sort of standing up is plain, outright gutsy. Bullock: a righteous human being.

  2. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

    WOW! Great car chase! Now all we need are a few gratiutious sex scenes, a leetle more gun play, some catchy dialogue, and we got ourselves a movie!

    But whom will we get to play Boinek? I’m thinkin’ Jim Carrey, for this will surely be a comedy rated DA, for DUMB ASS!

    bwhahahahahahahahahahahahahaa!

    Best car chase you’ll see all day!

    http://mtstreetfighter.com/video-surfaces-of-boniek-arrest/

  3. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

    This ain’t your daddy’s America. It’s your GRANDkids’ America! Now, do we allow the Big Kockh brothers to turn our country into Mordow without a fight? I don’t THINK so! Wonder if the big, tough oathkeepers are man enough to take on the REAL bad guys? The corporate fascists! I seriously doubt it, for they are a really, really stupid bunch of inbreds. Guns are just a part of the larger fight ahead, but an important part. They will be needed by REAL patriots of the earth to defend themselves against the land raping thugs!

    http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/rand-clifford/47527/dilbit-the-toxic-fossil-fuel-cocktail-that-would-be-transported-in-the-keystone-xl-pipeline

    • Craig Moore

      Larry, it’s not the Koch’s you have to worry about. http://www.tester.senate.gov/?p=news&id=294

      Responsible energy development will not only increase our energy security and create jobs, but it will also spur small businesses and new opportunities from Culbertson to Miles City.

      Building the Keystone XL pipeline will help Eastern Montana to reach its full economic potential. The pipeline would run through Montana and include an on-ramp in Baker for oil from the Bakken. The on-ramp will deliver up to 100,000 barrels of oil per day to market. Today, Bakken oil is getting less than market value because of shipping constraints — Keystone XL will help fix that.

      I have voted to approve the Keystone XL pipeline three times. I am disappointed that Congress and the president cannot work together to support this common sense project. Built with respect for private property rights and to the highest safety standards, the pipeline will safeguard our most treasured places and increase our energy independence.

      • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

        When I see Jon drink a big ol’ glass of DilBit, by GOD I’ll believe’im! But you see, he’s been sucked into Mordor. Big Sandy LOST their potable water years ago through shit farming practices. Polluted all the ground water. Now, those folks must buy all their drinking water. I guess that Jon figures if he can drink shit, so can everyone ELSE in the country!