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A pro-industry, anti-environmentalist non-profit first registered in Colorado and now operating out of the Washington, D.C. area is “clearly spending money to influence Montana elections,” an assistant attorney general in that state argued this week.
A moderate Montana Republican who says her bid for state lawmaker last year was torpedoed by the illegal campaign tactics of an anti-green, pro-drilling political group registered in Colorado has seen her ranch on the Yellowstone River near Laurel inundated with ExxonMobil oil.
The Montana Commissioner of Political Practices late last week ruled that a Denver-based political nonprofit likely violated Montana campaign finance and disclosure laws and should be hit with a civil penalty action. Western Tradition Partnership (WTP), a 501(c)4 originally registered in Colorado in 2008 by Republican operative Scott Shires, has been active in state, county and city elections in both Montana and Colorado, drawing criticism for last-minute attack mailers like the one aimed at Colorado state Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass, earlier this month.