The Montana Commissioner of Political Practices has issue a decision against a TEA Party nutjub who trying to get on the Great Falls school board and is campaigning against a mill levy in hopes of defunding public school classrooms.
The decision, issued yesterday, explains how Cascade County TEA Party leader Cyndi Baker created a separate fake organization called “Parents Coalition of for Accountability in Schools” to imply that there was a group supporting her campaign for school board. No such organization exists.
Baker also did not disclose the fake groups’ expenditures and file expenses with the political practices office, which is required under Montana sunshine laws. She also attempted to conceal from the voters that the fake “parents” organization did not exist and was actually run by her, the decision explains. You can read the political practices decision here: Graybill Van Hyning v Parent Coalition Baker Decision
The fake organization had the same treasurer as TEA Party leader Cyndi Baker’s campaign, and often used the exact same language and same layout and design in the ads and flyers from Baker’s campaign.
Two citizens filed complaints with the Commissioner of Political Practices after receiving a series of odd flyers, some anonymous, some claiming to be paid for by an organization that doesn’t exist. You can read the complaints here [VanHyningvPCASComplaint-1] and here [commission letter with all attachments].
Here’s the campaign flyer Cyndi Baker put out to make it look like there is an organization supporting her: Parent Coalition for Baker Fake Flyer
Here’s an anonymous flyer distributed door to door that uses the exact same (imbecilic) language from Baker’s Great Falls Tribune school board interview: Anonymous Anti-Levy Flyer
It’s also the same argument use in this flyer by Baker’s fake “parent coalition” organization: 2014 anti levy flyer by Fake “Parent Coalition”
It’s unlikely that this is Baker’s first attempt to deceive Great Falls voters.
Check out these materials from a Political Action Committee which has worked in the past to defeat Great Falls school funding levies.
It is interesting to note the striking similarities between this so-called “Citizens Against Higher Taxes” flyers from last year:
and Baker’s fake organization’s flyer this year:
The “Citizens Against Higher Taxes” supposed organization, which does not appear anywhere other than with Cyndi’s TEA Party nonsense, reports that it received all of its contributions in cash in under $35 increments (which is the threshold under which the donors names need not be reported). These cash contributions just happen to total up to the the exact amount of the cost of the leaflets they put in the Tribune that year. It’s hard to see this as anything other than an attempt to hide the source of the funds. You can see these campaign reports here: CAHT 2013 C-6 Citizens Agnst 2011 C6
Nor is this the first time Baker’s candidacy for office has stirred up controversy. As a Great Falls City Commission candidate Baker, who campaigned against school district spending, then turned around and sought a district paycheck.
Her actions became somewhat of a local scandal after the Great Falls Tribune reported that Baker tried to threaten the local government for taxpayer funded payola in the form of a position as “ombudsman” to the local TEA Party anti-government activists.
Here’s how the threat worked: Baker had been complaining for some time that it was “illegal” for district employees to criticize her opposition to district funding. Baker said if she were hired, she’d keep the “illegal” activity quiet. She did not explain how the proposed ombudsman position would work with people who are divorced from reality.
As the Tribune reports, while the district’s criticism may not have been flattering to Baker, there was nothing illegal about it. What the Tribune didn’t report is that Baker is the leader and spokesperson for the Great Falls TEA Party. Apparently Ms. Statue of Liberty (Baker’s preferred costume when at TEA Party rallies) is engaged to TEA Party Republican legislator Cleve Loney (who prefers to dress as George Washington, among other things, as you can see from this KRTV video). The voters ousted Loney after one term, but he’s running for legislature again this year anyway.