Corporate Lobbyists, GOP Operatives Set Up PAC to Back TEA Party Supreme Court Candidate
A barrage of mailers arrived in Montanans’ boxes this week, sent by a group calling itself Montanans for a Fair Judiciary PAC. The newly-created PAC is spending big money to put another TEA Partier into the Supreme Court who will represent corporate interests over yours.
A look at who is behind the mailers makes it clear that the Montana Republican machine is kicking its big money power brokers into gear for VanDyke. Here we see they have set up yet another corporate astroturf PAC to use big money to drown out citizens’ interest in the Montana Supreme Court race.
Let’s look at who’s really behind this newly created “group.” The so-called “Montanans for a Fair Judiciary PAC” was filed on Sept. 9, 2014 with the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Office. The PAC’s officers are listed as Jesse Luther, Wendy Smith, and Jake Eaton. Smith and Eaton both list 47 North Communications as their place of employment and e-mail contact.
Readers of this blog know Jake Eaton well. He’s the former Executive Director of the Montana Republican Party–the one who was forced to resign over the scandal to make it more difficult for 6,000 Montanans to vote. Eaton has also worked for former TEA Party Congressman Dennis Rehberg and the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Eaton’s firm was the one Jason Priest and Ed Walker used to do the dirty work of the dark money group they set up to buy the last Supreme Court race for TEA Partier Laurie McKinnon. But they weren’t satisfied with just one seat. Priest, Wittich, Essmann and others were the TEA Party were caught emailing each other about their plot to take over the supreme court when a reporter their plot was leaked to the press last session.
And yes, this is the same group is the group Art Wittich and Jason Priest used send mailers out to attack moderates who tried to support medicaid expansion last session.
The treasurer of the Montana for a Fair Judiciary PAC is Wendy Smith, who is not identified on the 47 North website, but does have a 47 North e-mail address and lists it on the PAC’s official paperwork, as you can see here: Montana for a Fair Judiciary PAC – Filing with Office of Commissioner of Political Practices
The third agent of the Montanans for the Fair Judiciary PAC is Jesse Luther, an attorney with Browning, Kaleczyc, Berry and Hoven, P.C., one of Montana’s largest corporate law firms. Luther is an Associate of the firm, serving its two notorious top extractive industry and large corporate lobbyists, Leo Barry and Mark Taylor.
If you’re not yet familiar with the work of Berry, Taylor and Luther, you’ll know their clients.
Here are a few as listed at the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices):
Coal Mountain Mining, LP
Montana Contractors Association
National Association of Publicly Traded Partnerships
3M Traffic Safety and Security Division
Montana Self Insurers Association
Consumer Data Industry Association
MHA, Montana Hospital Association, “An Association of Montana Health Care Providers”
BNSF Railway Company
Ash Grove Cement Company
and several others…
(Don’t you just love that they can work for Monsanto, Big Booze and the Hospitals at the same time.)
The fact that Leo Berry and Mark Taylor are going after Mike Wheat and putting big money behind VanDyke is indeed telling. These corporations want a court that represents their interests over ours.
P.S. With every day that goes by it becomes more clear that Lawrence VanDyke is a TEA Party Republican with strong ties to the GOP’s right wing and big corporate interests. One only needs follow the money to see the truth–you won’t get it from VanDyke, which is troubling.