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  Comments (1) Total Wednesday Apr. 23, 2014
One Last Flush
Closing Range
Rats! I thought I’d closed the lid on Money Sewer 2012. But then, added to the screaming over Rick Hill’s half million, was news of hundreds of thousands being spent to fake out voters in Montana’s Senate race. Some went for possibly illegal “conservatives should vote for Dan Cox” mailers that came out of Las Vegas with no “paid for” or return address.

First, in case you are wondering why Hill’s gift from the Republican Governors Association didn’t go through a sympathetic PAC, it seems Republicans didn’t have one ready. I could find only a Republican State Leadership Committee registered with the Montana political practices commissioner (CPP), seeking to “elect Republicans to down-ballot state-level offices.”

Initially established by staffers from national RSLC headquarters in Virginia, Billings GOP activist Tonia F. Clark was made treasurer to comply with the law requiring Montana PAC treasurers be Montana residents. RSLC threw about $108,000 of drug and tobacco money on the Jim Shockley/Tim Fox GOP attorney general primary (Altria, PhaRMA, Yahoo), almost all of which went to Virginia political ad agencies. CPP records for RSLC show a May 8, 2012 “truthiness” statement for a Tim Fox ad: It was signed by Carolyn Bush of Media Ad Ventures in Springfield, Virginia, which brags to clients on its website: “We do whatever it takes to get it done.”

RSLC then went dormant, with $187 left in the bank as of Oct. 20.

In contrast, Democrats’ PAC infrastructure was ready to rock: The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) gave about $1.7 million to Montana JET PAC starting in April, 2012. DGA was JET’s sole funding aside from bank fee refunds (I guess JET qualified for free checking).

Some of JET’s DGA cash went to Mellman Group, a Democratic political firm. A Bozeman video maker got a whopping $1,500. But the vast boodle, about $1.65 million, went to Great American Media (GAM). Who dat? In a report on independent 2010 expenditures, the National Institute on Money in State Politics stated GAM “is an unknown entity.”

But the Huffington Post figured it out, reporting an outfit called Waterfront Strategies is located in the same building as “GMMB, the powerhouse media consulting shop that produces President Barack Obama’s ads,” and mentioned “another firm from inside GMMB, called Great American Media.”

That’s not all: Montana JET’s treasurer is Harper Lawson, formerly Governor Schweitzer’s campaign manager, and chief of staff for Secretary of State Linda McCulloch, resigning at the end of 2011. But before he worked for either, he was a “senior associate for GMMB, Inc.”


There’s a press release this February from Gov. Schweitzer with Lawson as a contact, using a gmmb.com address. So Lawson is back at GMMB – while he signs checks made out to a GMMB sub-entity? Cool!

I wrote several months ago about the Montana Hunters and Anglers state PAC. Since then, two new MHA PACs, Action! and Leadership Fund, popped up in the Federal Elections Commission database.

Currently, FEC has no complete reports of Action! “action,” but does reveal $60,000 of undisclosed-origin expenditures from Action! to a Georgia vendor for anti-Rehberg radio ads Oct. 26, with Action! treasurer Barrett Kaiser signing the required 24-hour E-form for late campaign reports.

FEC forms show Leadership got $410,000 from the national League of Conservation Voters in July 2012, along with $1,000 donated that same week by Kaiser.

FEC reports also show $405,000 of LCV’s money went back out the door, to Waterfront Strategies for TV ads against Rehberg. Water surprise.

Leadership’s treasurer is Joe Splinter, former development director for Montana Conservation Voters, and now an “associate” at – yep – Hilltop Public Solutions, Kaiser’s outfit.

I must ask – if both treasurers work at the same “private” political employer, why are two PACs needed to attack the same politician?

Um, maybe to hide the last-second dumping of $684,000 into the Rehberg/Tester race Oct. 26, including $146,000 spent by Leadership for a mailing opposing Rehberg, and apparently promoting Cox? Or the additional $498,440 for TV, paid to Waterfront/GMMB? Or the $1,080,194.04 “calendar year” total spent to date by Leadership?

Today, we all know whether that money was wasted or well spent. It was certainly well-hidden.
On 11-08-12, fourweight commented....
Oh poor Davey… He fights for the crazy-right at every turn, rejoices in their short sighted stupidity (think praising his right wing supremes on Citizens United).....then bemoans the outcome. Dave, Dave, Dave…..the folks with the brains told you and your precious Antonin that this is what
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