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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Revealing Campaign Documents Found In Colorado Meth House

A screenshot of the special investigation “Big Sky, Big Money,” set to run on PBS. A trailer for the special says outside groups are controlling the message in Montana.

A box of documents found in a Colorado meth house suggest that an outside spending group, the Western Tradition Partnership (WTP), was working with the campaigns of 23 conservative candidates for state offices in Montana.

WTP is already locked in a legal battle with Montana authorities who ruled two years ago that the group was a political committee and should disclose its donors. WTP has maintained that it is a social welfare organization.

Montana election officials say the new documents call for another investigation into WTP’s practices to see if it was coordinating its work with the candidates, which would be illegal under campaign finance law.

The documents are a the focus of a Frontline investigation airing today on PBS, called “Big Sky, Big Money.”


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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003000884786 Navin R Johnson

    Nothing will change unless there are some post-election consequences to the candidates themselves.  Fines after an election are just the cost of doing business.  It is juvenile to believe anyone is going to follow the laws when there are no negative consequences and great positive rewards.

  • Deckelnick

    I believe Stephen Colbert has gone above and beyond to show there is no red line.

  • andrea renee hall

    Colorado is a big swing state this year.  This could really be a problem for the 
    GOP and for the election at large.  If the GOP is involved in voters fraud, what
    makes you think they don’t launder money?  Come on.  I can’t wait till this 
    gets blown sky high…. 

  • Monatana Mama

    I am a Montanan who lives in the community LeFer is now in.  I’ve actually met him and there are some nice things I could say about him and his wife personally, but don’t trust him politically any further than I can throw him.

    I believe it is my community that lodged the first complaint when WTP first hit the scene in 2008 with horrible, last minute, hysterical, misleading flyers. What was most upsetting was that these were focused on local, non-partisan elections.  While I’m sad to say they actually had some effect the first time, the public turned out in record numbers for the next municipal election and voted for candidates that advocated more reasonable, thoughtful approaches.  It’s as if we were all caught off guard in 2008, but once folks understood, they were clear that they would not stand for this kinds of politics.

    So far I’ve seen little buzz about the Frontline story, but my hope is that will change after tonight.  I am really grateful for your story today.  

  • Alan Hooker

    Yes !! There is a clear and obvious attempt by WTP /ATP to gain political control of the State of Montana by systematically destroying each and every state election law.  As a state resident I am aware of the long history of money manipulating Montana’s politics. That is why Montana passed strong election laws nearly a century ago. I suggest that you look closely at the antics of Mr. Scott Sales and some of his former  state house colleagues who are now, or have been involved in WTP /ATP . He is a former speaker of the montana State  House of Representatives. His one term tenure stands out for its incompetence. He is now running in  what amounts to a rigged election for State Senate.

  • Rcadigan

    I checked out the Big Sky, Big Money website and follwed the link to the Montana Stateman.  Heaven help us if it is Montana’s most trusted news source. One article and one statement caught my eye.  The article, titled “Feds may Investigate Lindeen on Discrimiantion Charges,” included this statement from the Department of Justice. 

    ” ‘The use of force threats or intimidation characterize a federal criminal violation of an individual’s civil rights,’  the Justice Department said in a statement.”  The statement continues with a second long papragraph.

    True enough, The DOJ did make the statments.  However, it;s on the DOJ’s web page and not specifically related to allegations about the candidate.


    • erin dobrinen

      No! I had never heard of the Statesman until it arrived in my mailbox with a slew of other campaign lit. It’s bogus!!!

  • Another Montanan

    You asked if there is  “buzz” about campaign finance issues, etc.   Sufficient signatures were obtained this spring to put an initiative on Nov’s ballot (I-166).  Opponents have filed lawsuits trying to keep it off the ballot – unsuccessfully …. so far.  We’ll see Nov 6th.

  • Chucknheidi

    Hi Robin, I love your show!

    I have lived in Bozeman since 1970. While not having been born here, I was only two when my folks moved us here. When Citizens United floated to the top, I bemoaned it as the end of fair politics as we know it. It seems no one can stop it and no one even seems to be outraged. Montana’s old copper baron laws were spot on as an effective method to attempt to keep it honest, and now it seems there is no integrity in politics at all. Will you please help us!!!

    With Love and Admiration, Yours Truly, Charlie Soper

  • Virginia Bryan

    You asked if Montanans were concerned about the tidal wave of outside money coming into political campaigns.  You bet we are.  Montanans are fiercely independent people and we know from our history how elections can be bought and sold.  It used to be that Montana politics were controlled by the Copper Kings of Butte and Anaconda who manipulated the unions, the newspapers and the legislature and anything else money could buy.  Most Montanans don’t earn big money to counteract these shenanigans and we enacted laws to protect against them.  It was a sorry day for Montana and American when the U.S. Supreme Court decided the “Citizens United” case and opened the floodgates for abuse of the political process.  We aren’t up for sale.  The truth will come out in the most recent developments involving the Colorado meth house, the stolen cars and the other nefarious dealings involving attempts to sway the Montana electorate, despite the attempts to cover it all up.  It won’t be pretty.  Virginia Bryan

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