We're talking about the liberal use of Citizens United to change the election results in Montana. Legally, cynically, beautifully.
In the waning days of Montana's hotly contested Senate race, a small outfit called Montana Hunters and Anglers, launched by liberal activists, tried something drastic.It didn't buy ads supporting the incumbent Democrat, Sen. Jon Tester. Instead, it put up radio and TV commercials that urged voters to choose the third-party candidate, libertarian DanCox, describing Cox as the "real conservative" or the "true conservative."
Where did the group's money come from? Nobody knows.
The pro-Cox ads were part of a national pattern in which groups that did not disclose their donors, including social welfare nonprofits and trade associations, played a larger role than ever before in trying to sway U.S. elections. Throughout the 2012 election, ProPublica has focused on the growing importance of this so-called dark money in national and local races.
Such spending played a greater role in the Montana Senate race than almost any other. With control of the U.S. Senate potentially at stake, candidates, parties and independent groups spent more than $51 million on this contest, all to win over fewer than 500,000 voters. That's twice as much as was spent when Tester was elected in 2006.
Almost one quarter of that was dark money, donated secretly to nonprofits.
"It just seems so out of place here," said Democrat Brian Schweitzer, the governor of Montana who leaves office at the end of this year. "About one hundred dollars spent for every person who cast a vote. Pretty spectacular, huh? And most of it, we don't have any idea where it came from. Day after the election, they closed up shop and disappeared into the dark." ...ProPublica
Tester won. Republicans were outraged. A complaint has gone to the FEC and may actually see some slight action in a few years, just like Democratic complaints to the same body. But the Tester victory isn't the only "victory."
Gov. Schweitzer, a Democrat, and Bertelsen, the former Republican secretary of state, campaigned for the initiative. In a shocker for backers, almost 75 percent of voters supported it.
"I realized it absolutely didn't have any legal basis to do anything dramatic," said Bertelsen, who is 94. "But it's a case of saying, 'We don't like it.' I guess we could just sit down and not say a word. But the Supreme Court — I think they made a mistake. Money isn't speech, anyhow. It's just money." ...ProPublica h/t Political Wire
Texans protest Citizens United on January 19.
WHAT: Grassroots organizers and activists from across Texas will take to the South Steps of the Texas State Capitol to mark the third anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and rally in support of two concurrent Texas resolutions before the 83rd Legislature calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to establish that political expenditures are not protected speech under the First Amendment, and only natural persons are protected by constitutional rights.
WHO: Texans United to Amend is a network of independent groups throughout Texas dedicated to passing local resolutions at the city, county and state level calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to combat the unlimited flow of money into our elections.