Dark Money, Dim Bulbs

by Cowgirl

Dark money and its corrupting influence is the biggest problem in American politics today, but according to one TEA Party legislator, the real problem is blogging.

Rep. Wendy Warburton (R-Havre) held forth in a committee hearing Friday with concerns about Governor Bullock’s bill to clean up political contributions.  She was concerned that the problem wasn’t massive amounts of unregulated, unreported money buying Montana politicians–but rather, the blogs. Said Warburton:

 “they’re exerting great, great power and in fact the internet is becoming much more of a forum than paper. You know what I mean as far as what we’re really talking about in terms of political power and things here.

I’ll bring up specific examples. The Montana Cowgirl online anonymous blog exerts influence. I’ve had my local newspaper call me in response to things they’ve said.”

Here’s the video:

 

Warburton is talking about the call she got from the Havre Daily News after this blog mentioned that her name appeared in a brilliant piece of national investigative journalism.  PBS show Frontline‘s piece aired nationwide and revealed the seedy underbelly of secret money in MT elections.

In a full-hour exposé of Montana politics and a secretive right-wing group known as American Tradition Partnership, or ATP, Frontline revealed that a secret stash of incriminating documents has been found in a meth house, showing extensive communications between Warburton and other Republican legislative candidates and the ATP, and showing that the ATP was even preparing campaign material for them.

The short story is that the 2010 election, in which the Tea Party swept into control of the Montana legislature, may have featured massive illegalities.   Under state law, third party groups, the ones like American Tradition Partnership which spend masses of unregulated, unreported money, are legally barred from coordinating with candidates.  But several legislative candidates and the ATP have been caught red handed, working together, in violation of the law.

Wendy Warburton's behavior should be investigatedThe Havre Daily News reported that Warburton appears to have been in direct communication with the group, even going so far as to send them a “signature stamp,” presumably so they could send out mailings on her behalf, using her signature.  That’s likely to be found illegal under Montana law.

So basically what we have here is Warburton having a fit because a reporter called her when her name popped up in a national dark money exposé.  That she is trying to seek retaliation against a blog because of this is hilarious.

She doesn’t realize that the fault here is hers–and that her actions are exactly the type of things members of her own party are working with Governor Bullock to try to prevent.  I shudder to think what Warburton will do when she finds out that the dark money expose she’s angry about was not just discussed on the blogs, but also on Facebook and Twitter, around dinner tables, at coffee shops, and around water coolers across the state.

The bill is SB 375 sponsored by GOP Sen. Jim Peterson.

 

Posted: April 7, 2013 at 9:54 pm

35 thoughts on “Dark Money, Dim Bulbs

  1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers.

    Quick! Call someone the WHAAAAAmbulance! No wait! Call GOD!

    bwhahahahahahahahaahahahahahahhahaahahaa!

    What a freaking PEA brain poor widdle Wendy Wharpedburpin’ is! Good GOD, woman! Grow a spine! AND a brain! You’re an idiot! Dark money equals blogging?? Now that’s damn funny! Wendy, why don’t you start your OWN blog to counter the liebrul evil forces?? Are you simply too stoopid to do so? Ya DON’T even need any money! Christofascist nazis should be made of STERNER stuff! Or shit.

  2. Norma Duffy @Ilikewoods

    Oh man Wish I got money for Warbutons anti her blogs LOL. What a complete Idiot. I have to say she makes the rest of us look good…. but I could use that invisible money shes thinks we have Bwah hahahahaha.

    On a serious note, What she is really asking, is to silence the voices against her…. What her and others really want is to destroy democracy.

    Not ever Warburton will you get that wish. Not Ever!!!

  3. James Conner

    I have a hunch that with Rep. Warburton the problem is not the money or the blogs, or even the local reporters who think she’s important enough to call, but the fact that she seems to be in the dark about a lot of things. Pray, send her the light.

    1. W.H.

      I can’t figure out how this bill is different from ALECs top priority- increasing campaign finance limits. That’s all this bill does folks- sad as that is to admit.

      As you can see from this Huffington Post article; ALEC and other organizations are pushing for increasing campaign limits as the next step to total dominations after Citizen United. I hope Montana will not go down the same path as Arizona and other states- I hope our dems don’t fall for this.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/2013/04/12/citizens-united-reform_n_3069543.html

  4. Havre Voter

    Warburton is a hebetative dolt who gets worse every year. Now that her pastor has fled town she seems to be thumping the bible even harder than ever, much to the embarrassment of the locals.

  5. Publius II

    Thanks Cowgirl, and this reminds to contact the Commissioner of Political Practices, as there are still ongoing investigations, including a complaint filed by Democratic Senator Brad Hamlett against the man behind the dark money group ‘Montana Growth Network’ and none other than Senator Jason Priest, a carpet-tea ‘bagger’ with connections to fossil fools from out of state working their will to kill every oil and gas control bills out there. I think it’s cruely ironic Senator Priest was made the chair of the senate’s Health and Public Safety Committee’ and THE guy leading the charge to kill healthcare for women and denying Medicaid expansion, even to the hardworking cowpokes even in his district that don’t have a ‘pot to piss in’ except for their pick-up
    and saddle, and certainly no healthcare from a big ranch they might
    be droving for, and still that cowboy votes for Repubs, aargh.

  6. Pundet

    Er,, uh, Tester race, mirror, Cowgirl, Tester, dark money, last minute surprise, untraceable money, Chris Christie wannabe sneaks in back door, mirror needed, hypocrisy defined, Democrats can’t clean up corruption because they are corrupt too .. Have I used my 140 characters?

      1. Pundet

        Funniest line ever, Lynn.

        I’m also told that Conrad Burns is more honest than Max Baucus. The problem I have is not knowing how “more” can be used regarding corruption. It’s hard to measure. I’m happy for you that you’ve solved that problem.

    1. Bill LaCroix

      Pundet, I note you’re not using your real name. Why is that? Do you wish to exert “dark” influence”?
      What corporatists like Warburton have a problem with is called “journalism” not anonymity or dark money. Yeah, Tester was called out on Cox as he should have been, which is called “journalism”. He still won, and Cox willfully helped him, just like so many other clueless one horse third party candidates throughout our history. Get over it, please. That’s not the issue here. Warburton got caught being demonstrably venal and corrupt. She’s upset. She blames one of many messengers in hopes of distracting attention while she pulls her hand out of the fudge jar. She picks this messenger cuz she thinks she can get traction by selectively condemning the anonymity that runs rampant throughout the internet and social networks. Anonymity runs rampant cuz of the nasty threats anonymous people have been getting away with for so long. Let’s call it “virtual concealed carry”, which I’m sure Warburton would vote for if given the proper wording from ALEC and the NRA.
      Most wingnuts in Ravalli Co. can proudly wear their colors on their lapel pins while they’re taking charge of trashing our valley, while those who care, and also have jobs, feel they have to either hide who they really are or, better for the corporatists, be silent.
      Is silence what Warburton really wants. Of course. Is anonymity on the internet a rational choice for those who care enough to speak up in this world of “virtual concealed carry” we’ve allowed to be created for ourselves, Pundet? Of course.

      1. Anonymous

        My name is Kram iksrakoT – reverse the letters. If I write it this comment will not post as I was banned shortly before the election here last year, no explanation ever given, but I assume it had to do with rallying the troops. I hoist Democrats by their own petard, so I suspect holding a mirror up has something to do with it.

        Now, get over yourself, your moral superiority, and look at your own party. You can actually do something about that. I don’t know who Tester’s sugar daddy is, who has him by the balls, neither do you. I know he’s corrupt, as I saw him turn on us and get ugly at progressives shortly after getting elected, meanng that when he ran in 2006, he lied to us. He played us.

        Republicans are everything you say they are, but you are everything you say they are too, and that is the problem.

            1. Pundet

              So why is it that an pompous bloviating phony poseur full of false credentials and fake expertise does not get banned for a personal attack like that? There’s nothing special about you. Yu toe the line, not much more.

        1. Bill LaCroix

          Just for the record: the Democratic Party isn’t my party of choice. I’ve just never, ever voted for a Republican candidate and that usually leaves only a Democratic candidate. You can’t label a person cuz of the limited choices presented them. The choice we had in 2006 was Burns, a crook, and Tester, an honest man vying for a corrupted position we all knew he needed to win. Montana broke the Republican majority in the Senate with those few thousand votes that gave him that win. Should we have pouted cuz of poor choices? Not voted? Pouted some more cuz Tester, once elected, behaved like the conservative Democrat we all knew he was? The system’s corrupt for a lot of reasons. But I don’t think it’s fair to blanket-blame all candidates or voters for the polluted air we’re forced to collectively breathe.

          1. W.R.

            The system is corrupt, Bill I agree. I’d be interested to see what you make of this bill. For what it’s worth, I think it does more harm than good by actually increasing the amount of money and the corruption it buys in politics. Somebody handed Bullock a rotten egg here. Best thing to do with a rotten egg is to toss it out.

  7. MTnativeEyes

    Oh my heavens! Do you suppose the reaction to pens and paper or the printing press was similar? Do they know it not “blogs” but ideas and expression they despise?

    1. Publius II

      ‘Works of the Devil’ was how the Guttenberg printing press was vilified and the first bible in Gerrman – not Latin – was published off those presses. The Vatican didn’t want Martin Luther and associates to have the ability to reach the masses in their own local languages, but wanted Latin as the only language to be offered.

  8. Dallas Reese

    Politicians like to say “sunshine is the best disinfectant” but when the sunshine is focused on them, their actions and their decision making ability, they wilt under the heat.

    The internet and blogs like Cowgirl provide light and information to the electorate. As a result, politicians can’t control the message and they HATE that.

  9. Jeff

    Blogs are probably no different then someone sending out one of those “HIT” newsletters, that may advocate the defeat of a candidate. Everyone wants to regulate everyone they hate but themselves, when doing the same type of things.

    1. Rob Kailey

      I find this blog to very well regulated. It is responsible to those who comment complaints (save over content). It is obviously well moderated, and updated as need be. Anyone who doesn’t violate statute is welcome to respond. In all of the above, a blog, this one as well, are radically different from a “HIT” newsletter.

      Furthermore, there is no evidence at all that any money changes hands to produce this blog, save from ‘the Cowgirl’ to her hosting provider. Again, that’s radically different from ‘Hit’ letters. So, I think you need to clarify, ‘Jeff’. Is your issue with the lack of regulation on this form of Free Speech, or just this website?

      1. Jeff

        It’s not about the money. I use regulate as it relates to things like the Commissioner of Political Practices. Almost every bill that deals with the Commissioners office wants individuals and committee’s who are working to oppose or support a candidate by encouraging them to vote, to file a report with that office. I know blogs are more editorial in nature, and we do have the 1st Amendment, but if I had a defeat John Smith blog, wouldn’t the opposition want me to file a report with the Commissioner. Internet website is also on the list of political materials that must have a pd for by, along with the other BS everyone wants on their disclosure issues. So who would you put on a list that should disclose when advocating the defeat or election of a candidate and who should be excluded from disclosing or reporting to the Commissioner of Political Practices?

        1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers.

          DILDO ALERT!!!

          “but if I had a defeat John Smith blog, wouldn’t the opposition want me to file a report with the Commissioner.”

          jeff

        2. Grandma Jeanie

          So when I call my friends to talk about how horrible Jeff Essmann is I should have to report my cell phone contract to the Commissioner Practices? Please.

        3. Rob Kailey

          Jeff, that is wildly inaccurate. For instance:

          Almost every bill that deals with the Commissioners office wants individuals and committee’s who are working to oppose or support a candidate by encouraging them to vote, to file a report with that office.

          No. Every such bill or current law requires reporting from those organizations that collect and spend money in support of or to defeat a candidate or policy. The question you pose at the end of your comment has already been answered.

          1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers.

            Jeff?????? Jeff????? Nah. You don’t supposed, do you?? COULDN’T be!

            THE ASSMAN WRITETH!

            bwhhahahahahahahahahahahahhahaaa!

            Is that you, Assman? I’m sure of it! For it’s THAT stoopid!

  10. Rob Kailey

    I’ve noticed something about many of our good friends on the right. When it comes to the 2nd Amendment, they think the word ‘regulated’ means trained or educated. When it comes to business, they often think the word means manipulated or oppressed. As for free speech, they think the word ‘regulated’ means controlling any message they don’t like.

    It’s hard to have a discussion with folks who think ‘regulated’ is a mood word, changing it’s color of meaning depending on their own attitude. Still, they use it so frequently. They keep using that word. I don’t think it means what they think it means …

  11. Grandma Jeanie

    One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

    Actually Cowgirl, This bill just needs to die. Its got more bad provisions in it than good and if it passes, our campaign laws will be worse. A couple of examples – it lets political parties give candidates $5000 in legislative races. The curent limit is $650. Remember with the Republican National Party tried to buy the Governor’s race with $500,000 for Rick Hill? This is the state level equivilent – we’re saying “Sure, Let’s go ahead and let the MTGOP buy any legislative race it wants to.”

    Any Democrat who votes for this deserves to lose in the next election when their race is bought by big money and the state party. I think we still have at least some dems in the House who are smart enough to see that this is a one step forward, two steps back/

  12. Hal

    Warburton is a twit, but that doesn’t mean this bill is worth the paper it’s printed on- in fact this bill just puts more money into politics- what’s the difference between this and what Reichner propose earlier that was ridiculed on this same blog?

  13. Ben Tully

    If Bullock really wanted to do something that made a positive change about dark money, why not follow California’s lead and conduct an investigation? One need not be an AG to conduct such work, and Tim Fox would be the last person to investigate his beloved corporate cronies. But the Gov has the moral integrity needed to set up a special task force to get this done.

      1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers.

        WOW! Great article! We DO need that in Montana!

        “As the probe progresses, some conservatives are nervous that more details—such as the identities of actual donors—could be publicized. “This case has got very, very deep and significant implications,” says a conservative lobbyist with knowledge of the investigation. “A lot of folks are going to have their dirty laundry hung out, and it’s not going to be pretty. Why would money go through such a circuitous route if not to conceal the donors?”

        No WONDER Sen. Kochkleburr Lickspittle doesn’t want his donors revealed!! Who wants to admit that you make your living licking spittle offn’ the Big Kockhs?!!

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