Tag Archives: ATP

Something Smells in Park County

A former  TEA Party Republican legislator is trying to get some special treatment under the law this week.

Former state lawmaker Pat Wagman trying to get a judge to let him be prosecuted by his fellow TEA Partier and local GOP candidate for legislature – Nels Swandal, who is currently the acting Park County Attorney.

Wagman is implicated in the infamous meth house scandal which involves allegations of illegal coordination with the dark money kingpins of American Traditions Partnership.  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 apparent violation of the law.

Park County’s deputy county attorney Kendra Anderson told the Livingston Enterprise that she and Swandal plan to get in on Wagner’s lawsuit to allow them prosecute it.

Readers will no doubt find it interesting that Kendra Anderson is also Nels Swandal’s law partner.

Swandal is running for the state legislature in Livingston’s SD 30 against Democratic candidate Mary Murphy–in spite of reports of alleged Judicial Code of Ethics violations which were reported in Montana papers across the state during the last election cycle. The allegations involve a fundraising letter sent out on ultra-conservative judicial candidate Laurie McKinnon’s behalf,  paid for by Laurie McKinnon’s campaign, metered in her hometown, signed by Nels Swandal while he was a sitting judge, which the judicial code of ethics says is not permitted.  The Billings Gazette reported that Swandal says

“questions posed by the Montana AFL-CIO to candidates ‘are among the most un-American ideas I’ve ever seen,’ and that he wouldn’t seek endorsement of the Montana Conservation Voters ‘because of their assault on private property.’”

So it sounds like Wagman is hoping evade accountability for his corruption.

Indeed no group has been more insidious than American Traditions Partnership in corrupting Montana’s elections. In a brilliant piece of investigative journalism, the PBS show Frontline reported on the documents uncovered in a meth house that revealed seedy underbelly of secret money in Montana’s elections, with a full-hour expose of Montana politics and this secretive right-wing group.

The Livingston Enterprise story does not appear to be online, but you can read it below–its definitely worth reading.  If someone has a link I’ll post it.

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Montana Ranks 3rd Nationally in TEA Party Members Per Capita

A new report ranks Montana third nationally in tea party membership as a percentage of the state’s population.

Wyoming ranked number two and Alaska had the highest percentage of TEA Partiers.  Still, the report from Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights showed MT TEA Party membership was much lower than what local groups have claimed, but its not like this bunch’s other claims have had much credibility either. Continue reading

Today’s Must-Read Political Blog Post

Is up at Intelligent Discontent, where Don Pogreba writes another of his excellent point by point take downs of shoddy journalism.

I’ve read some terrible headlines from Montana newspapers in my day, but today’s story headlined “Political practices commissioner accused of using questionable tactics to get results” has to be one of the worst. More accurate headlines would include “Those accused of campaign finance violations cry bitterly about it” or “Commissioner Motl works to restore trust in Montana elections.”

Go read it.

Mike Miller Latest Republican Under Investigation

State Rep. Mike Miller (R-Helmville) is the latest Republican legislator under investigation for illegal campaign activity, the AP reported.

His name was found in a box of documents in a meth house which later became the subject of a brilliant work of national investigative journalism. In a full-hour exposé of Montana politics and the secretive right-wing group, PBS’s show Frontline revealed that a secret stash of incriminating documents has been found in a meth house, showing extensive communications between these and perhaps other legislative candidates and the American Traditions Partnership, and showing that the ATP was even preparing campaign material for them.

The list of others who could be investigated because documents and campaign materials with their names were found in the meth house includes–but is not limited to–current and former legislators Ed Butcher, Bob Wagner, Wendy Warburton, Jerry O’Neil, and Derek Skees. Rep. Dan Kennedy (R-Laurel) is already under investigation.

Miller announced the investigation on his own Facebook page, saying. “Well, before the press breaks the news, (or MT-Cowgirl), former MT Rep. John Ward has filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Political Practices over the 2010 primary, alleging coordination with Assembly Action Fund and ATP (WTP).” Screenshot.

He said he is “not commenting further at this time on the merits of my case.” Screenshot. However he added,

“One could wonder in the Kennedy case if a candidate buys something (paper) on sale at say WalMart and Staples has the same item at a higher price, just what is the fair market value of that item. Or if a candidate buys stamps at Costco at a 25 cent discount if Costco is making a corporate contribution to the candidate as it is less than the US Post Office charges which one could assume the CoPP would think was the “fair market value.”

Former Rep. Scott Mendenhall (R-Clancy) blamed the investigation on “More divisiveness out of the self-proclaimed ‘Business Republicans.’” Those alleged to have illegally coordinated with ATP are in the TEA Party camp.

ATP’s Tangled Web May Snare Others

Montana’s head elections regulator ruled this week that American Tradition Partnership illegally coordinated with a GOP legislative candidate, Dan Kennedy R-Laurel.  Now, Montana’s top election regulator says he’s launching an investigation into other candidates ATP may have coordinated with.

ATP is the right-wing political attack group that was instrumental in bringing us the nation’s most bat-crap crazy state legislatures in 2011 and 2013. Kennedy’s primary opponent was but one of several GOP candidates who complained about ATPs activities to elect hard right-wingers over more moderate republicans.

As KUFM’s Dan Boyce reports, an investigation into illegal campaign activity

“is now expanding to include Continue reading