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.