As I was doing a little search about Rick Hill this evening, I came across an incredibly odd site called the Montana Statesman, which bills itself as “Montana’s Largest and Most Trusted News Source.” While it has the appearance of a newspaper site (if newspapers were designed by people who have never been online), within about two seconds it became clear that the site was just another trollish and anonymous site attacking Montana Democrats.
But I’ll admit I was curious about who was responsible for the site, so I searched the for the IP record and found this mystery. While the site has a private registration, there are six domains hosted on the server that holds the Montana Statesman, including americantradition.org, the web site of American Tradition Partnership. The other sites? Another fake grassroots group and the campaign sites for Republican legislative candidates Jerry O’Neil and Dan Skattum.
It’s also interesting that Mr. Skattum’s web site has been up since May 7th—and he hasn’t reported a single expenditure related to hosting it. Neither has Mr. O’Neil. I’m not sure, but I think Montana election law requires reporting of in-kind donations to candidates.
Basically, the Montana Statesman is the sleazy end of the sleaziest political outfit working in Montana.
Not content to send anonymous mailers and hit pieces against candidates, the ATP has moved into the increasingly crowded field of false and partisan news providers in Montana.
By now, most Montanans probably know all about American Tradition Partnership. They’re the outfit that worked to invalidate Montana’s election laws to make it easier for people like the Koch brothers to buy our elections.
Most recently, they’ve filed suit to not only help protect Rick Hill’s ill-gotten $500,000 campaign contribution, but to invalidate all campaign limits in Montana elections. They’re the kind of people who work against laws protecting Montana voters and candidates from false attacks, and they’re the kind of people who help put together sparsely-attended “rallies” to help Tim Fox.
We may never be able to rid ourselves of parasites like the American Tradition Partnership, but it’s certainly telling which politicians they seem to attach themselves to. You have to ask yourself why an outfit like American Tradition Partnership is so desperate to elect people like Hill and Fox—it certainly doesn’t say anything very positive about either of them.