How Montana Democrats hope to win by backing Libertarian
Montana Democrats and their black money organizations have apparently abandoned their efforts to promote Democratic candidate Monica Tranel in Montana’s western congressional district. Instead, they hope to support the Open Borders, libertarian pro-sanctuary city candidate. It’s all part of an effort to try to steal votes from Republican nominee Ryan Zinke (R-MT).
The great Dave Skinner once again followed the money for us. Here is his latest investigative report on election money in Montana.
by Dave Skinner
Some Montanans saw a mysterious new flyer in their mailboxes literally days before the election, a card emblazoned with the Montana Republican logo calling on conservatives to vote for libertarian congressional candidate John Lamb because Republican candidate Ryan Zinke is a “Republican in name only” or RINO.
In 2012, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) protected his power by overseeing a similar mailing, sent from an anonymous post office box in Las Vegas. Those cards backed Dan Cox, who won enough votes (most people who would never, ever vote Democrat) to cover incumbent Democrat Jon Tester’s margin of victory in the US Senate race against Dennis Rehberg. It’s unclear if those cards had any effect, but Democratic operatives apparently believe those cards made a significant difference, enough to try the same bet in this election.
From the carpentry comes “Montanans Against Corruption in Congress,” or MACC. Who is it?
Well, MACC has the exact same mailing address, uses the exact same bank, has the exact same email (no phone), uses the exact same “record keeper” and is managed by the same treasurer as Montanans for a Better Congress (MBC). the federal super PAC that helped Monica Tranel’s primary campaign against Cora Neumann.
Only nine wealthy Montana residents (not necessarily real Montanans), all Democrats, gave MBC every penny it received. One of those donors is, yes, Monica Tranel’s husband. But MBC reported that it had $59,000 left when it closed after the primary.
Where could the money have gone? I would suggest asking MBC and MACC Treasurer Timothy Bechtold who signs the checks for both.
Mr. Bechtold is a well-known environmental lawyer in Missoula, advocating for numerous Montana and national environmental groups such as Earthjustice since the late 1990s. Prior to being a lawyer, however, he was a full-fledged environmental radical, member from Earth First! during its most extreme days. In 1993, he confided to a Canadian researcher his general philosophy: “American culture is something that we have to get rid of.
No one who thinks this should tell anyone how to vote, right? How is it possible? Well, the details are (link here).
How are baby zombies born?
Monica Tranel, the Democratic nominee competing with Republican nominee Ryan Zinke for Montana’s new second seat in the US House, has some very smart people helping her.
Federal campaign laws limit individual donors to a limit of $5,400 in total for each federal “campaign cycle,” $2,700 in each primary and general election. But there is a way around these limitations, the “Independent Super PAC”. With super PACs, contributions are completely unlimited. The only limitation seems to be that independent super PACs cannot “coordinate” directly with the candidate or the candidate’s staff for a period of time before primary and general election day.
But plans can be made and followed. Monica Tranel and her network have come up with a whole plan.
During the 2022 primary season, a federal super PAC calling itself Montanans for a Better Congress appeared with TV ads attacking Cora Neumann, Monica Tranel’s most viable leading opponent for the Democratic congressional nomination. Sordid? Misleading? Maybe, but under federal campaign law, that’s silly at best because Congress voted that way, objectively a smart move.
Montanans for a Better Congress (ID number C00811224) filed its Federal Election Commission Form 1 on April 1, 2022, with the signature of Timothy Bechtold, a Missoula environmental attorney. The custodian of the archives is Abbey Lee Cook. While Cook resides in Helena, she is the former campaign manager for New York Democratic politician Max Rose, a former congressman who is now running to win back his congressional seat after losing in 2020 when Cook was campaigning.
Montanans for a Better Congress (MBC for short) raised $175,600 from just nine people. The top two donors were:
Albert Borgman, $100,000: Borgman is a retired University of Montana professor who majored in the philosophy of technology – writing numerous books (e.g., University of Chicago Press) and essays on technology. impact of technology not only on ethics but also on nature. One example, a 1983 student lecture on “The Impact of Technology on the Character of Major Social Institutions.”
Susan MacGrath, $50,000: Ms. MacGrath is married to mountaineer and guide Martin Zabaleta, credited as the first Basque to climb Mount Everest in 1980. A 1999 graduate of Lewis and Clark Law School, she is a “mother and lawyer non-practicing”. Nevertheless, she ranked nationally as 1,281st the largest “hard money” political donor according to campaign finance tracking site Open Secrets.org: $245,000 to Democrats, none to Republicans.
Together, Professor Borgman and housewife MacGrath donated $150,000 of the $176,000 raised by the Montanans for a better convention.
The rest came from:
James R. Scott of Billings, $10,000: Other FEC records show an “unemployed” Mr. Scott gave $5,800 in earmarked money to Monica Tranel through ActBlue in 2022; and the 2021 FEC filing shows that First Interstate Bank manager James R. Scott gave $17,500 to the Montana Democratic Party.
Dan Weinberg (and his wife Michelle) of Whitefish: $7,000. Weinberg served as a state senator for one term from 2004 to 2008, representing Whitefish. He was defeated in the 2008 election by none other than Ryan Zinke.
Gregar Lind of Missoula, $5,000: Dr. Lind (he’s a doctor) is not only Monica Tranel’s husband, but he served alongside fellow liberal Democrat Dan Weinberg in the Montana Senate.
Timothy Bechtold, Missoula, $2,500: As noted above, Mr. Bechtold (a lawyer) is already the treasurer of MBC. He is known for his groundbreaking litigation on behalf of environmental groups. He is also noted as being a bona fide member of Earth First! during EF!’s most radical and purple era, the same period as Bureau of Land Management director Tracy Stone Manning’s current involvement with the band, circa 1988 to 1995. In 1993, Bechtold a revealed his outlook on life, telling Canadian sociology scholar Richard James Burton “American culture is something to get rid of.”
Fast forward to today, and Mr. Bechtold is among the elite in terms of practicing law in Montana and mingles with the elite of the Montana Democratic establishment, involved in the more rarefied aspects of national campaign finance regulations (and how to avoid violating them).
But even the rarest campaign finance programs can be incredibly rudimentary. Let’s change gears a bit.
In the third week of October, another super PAC made its presence known with a mass mailing of postcards bearing the Montana GOP logo (without permission, of course), calling on conservatives to vote for libertarian John Lamb. instead of “RINO” Ryan. Zinked. In 2012, a federal super PAC controlled by Harry Reid made a similar mailing from a Las Vegas post office box, calling on conservatives to vote libertarian. The 6.5% of Montana voters who chose Dan Cox (L) that year more than covered Jon Tester’s 4.1% margin over Rehberg in 2012.
The super PAC: Montanans Against Corruption in Congress (MACC), FEC ID number C00820589, first filed with the FEC in mid-July 2022. MACC is located at the exact same address as MBC, 317 East Spruce Street in Missoula. The custodian of the MACC archives is Abbey Lee Cook, again – and even the treasurer is the same, Earth First! former student and lawyer Timothy Bechtold.
No, we couldn’t invent this garbage if we tried. Yes, everything is perfectly legal. At the time of writing, Nov. 3, FEC records show that MACC has not raised or spent a dime. But it’s a safe bet that AFTER the election is over, MBC and MACC records will show that the remaining $59,070.01 when the Montanans for a Better Congress closed didn’t even need to be found. a new house, just a new bank account run by the same person.
They say America is a nation of laws – and the machinations documented here make it clear that there are despicable laws on the books, exploited by bad actors who don’t want voters to have a chance to vote wisely . It’s a way to get rid of America.
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