The Montana Family Foundation’s Jeff Laszloffy suffered a slew of losses this session, but perhaps none was felt so bitterly as his failure to get a parental consent legislative referendum on the ballot for 2014. The Family Foundation’s legislative referenda work was the organization’s major cash cow last election cycle. Since Laszloffy failed to get the measure on the ballot for 2014, the Family Foundation’s ability to impact elections has now evaporated.
Cowgirl readers will recall that Governor Steve Bullock allowed Laszloffy’s unconstitutional bill to become law solely so that the bill can be struck down in Montana’s courts. As John Adams at The Lowdown reports, the move allows women to immediately challenge the measure in court long before an identical referenda passed by the legislature gets to the ballot in 2014.
Sure, Laszloffy knew that the measure was unconstitutional–everyone knew it. But Lazloffy’s purpose in pushing it was electoral, not policy-driven.
You see, last election cycle Laszloffy raised some $300,000–purportedly for the parental notification legislative referenda which was sent to the ballot by the 2011 legislature. Montana Family Foundation’s Incidental Ballot Committee Reports in 2012 show they were able to raise and spend $320,000 in 2012.
In a typical year, the Family Foundation raises about $20,000 for electoral work. But because of the LR, LR-120, they were able to raise more than 15 times that amount. You can see the reports below.
$18,000 May 8-May 24
$3,000 May 25-June 18
$2,000 June 19-July 3
$6,000 July 4 -Aug 3
$29,000 Aug 4-Sept 3
$191,000 spent Sept 15-Oct 15
$3,000 spent Oct 16-Oct 25
$68,000 spent Oct 26-Nov 19
For one thing, this is money that could be used to supplant Family Foundation funds that had been going toward Laszloffy’s salary. What’s also interesting is that the campaign finance reports for Laszloffy’s ballot committee shows that some of the money he raised was leveraged to actually help the GOP’s top targeted legislative races–not just the ballot initiative.
Here’s a screenshot from his “incidental ballot committee’s” campaign report. It reports the expenditure Lazsoffy made for a mailer that was about the ballot measure on one side, and a top tier targeted GOP race on the other. This means that all of the polling and research Laszloffy did for these mailings was supporting the GOP’s legislative candidates too.
Thanks to Cowgirl tipsters for pointing out these fundraising anomalies. Reader tips are the essence of this blog. Send tips to mntnacowgirl (at) gmail.comTweet