American Tradition Partnership

Chuck Johnson, Sally Mauk and Mike Dennison
Eliza Wiley

On the final "Capitol Talk" of the 2015 session, Sally, Chuck, and Mike talk about the death of the infrastructure bill, the session's winners and losers, and how the outcome might affect the 2016 election.

Montana BASE website

 A group of moderate Republicans who denounce anonymous campaign spending in elections say their Political Action Committee, or PAC, plays by the rules.

PACs have been the source of so-called dark money over the last few elections cycles, and a lot of that spending in Montana has been aimed at helping more conservative Republicans win primary campaigns.

The moderates say this time they’re fighting back--in a transparent way.

Montana Legislature

Montana’s Commissioner of Political Practices this week issued a ruling accusing a sitting Republican state lawmaker of illegally coordinating with a “dark money” group during his 2010 campaign, an accusation the lawmaker denies.

American Tradition Partnership, one of the primary “dark money” groups operating in Montana the past few elections, has been fined more than $260,000 for illegal campaign activity. This even as the group may be quietly dissolving.

“Here, we have what appears to be a deliberate attempt to evade Montana’s campaign and reporting requirements,” District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock wrote in his Monday ruling.

Montana’s commissioner of political practices is ruling the conservative dark money group American Tradition Partnership illegally coordinated election activities with a former state legislator.

Commissioner Jonathan Motl said Wednesday ATP distributed campaign mailers in coordination with former Billings Republican Representative Dan Kennedy. It’s the second blow to ATP this week, after a federal judge threw out a lawsuit from ATP associates.