By Christopher B. Daly
Now comes news that certain people have
1. created an organization that meets the technical definition of the kind of non-profit that can funnel unlimited amounts of money into U.S. politics without having to identify the donors.
2. perhaps (according to documents found in a meth house in Montana, fer chrissake) skirted the legal requirement that they steadfastly avoid coordination of their efforts with any actual politicians.
Hmmm…. does that seem: surprising? shocking? dismaying? inevitable? All of the preceeding?
I would say that ever since the U.S. Supreme Court’s profoundly wrong ruling in the 2010 Citizens United case, this kind of thing was entirely predictable. (All except the meth house; that is a nice touch.) In brief: the story involves a conservative group opposed to clean energy is organized into something called the American Tradition Partnership. According to news accounts and Montana election officials, ATP may have violated campaign finance laws, based on documents found in the meth house.
For the full story, watch Frontline tonight on PBS (before public broadcasting’s enemies destroy it), or read about it at ProPublica. You can also follow it in the pages of the Missoulian, a newspaper based in Missoula, Montana, which (luckily!) still maintains a bureau in the state capital of Helena trying to keep an eye on government and politics. A hat tip to Mike Dennison of the Missoulian — and keep up the good work. Or, check out the coverage in the Billings Gazette.
p.s. Don’t miss this handy interactive info-graphic from ProPublica, which shows who is giving what amounts to which causes.
p.p.s. Memo to the conservative SCOTUS bloc: thanks a lot.