Thursday, January 24, 2013

One vast right-wing conspirator bites the dust in Mont.

Here's the misleading mailer ATP sent out through a front group. The Teamsters
endorsed Reilly Neill. 
Montana's American Tradition Partnership is kaput, leaving one less player in the broad, coordinated conspiracy to destroy unions, foul the environment, lower middle-class living standards and loot the taxpayer.

ATP was a shady group that fought for secret big-money campaign donors, attacked unions and smeared candidates who disagreed with its extremist agenda. In November, the group sent out  campaign mailers full of lies -- with the Teamsters logo on it -- through a phony nonprofit. (The Teamsters got a cease-and-desist order.)

There are many, many more of these conspirators to go -- including ALEC, ALEC lawmakers, propaganda mills like the Mackinac Center and phony tea party groups like the Benedict Arnold Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity. Still, it's nice to say goodbye to at least one front group for anti-worker plutocrats. 

According to the Associated Press, ATP is no longer active. Here's why:
A state judge ruled this month that ATP acted as a political committee that must report its spending and donors, and is not the purely educational organization that it claims to be...(He ruled ATP) violated state campaign finance laws and used its corporate status to avoid compliance with those laws...
We've said for a long time that the way to fight this vast conspiracy is to expose who's behind it. That's exactly what happened with ATP:

The Associated Press reports the group fought hard to keep secret its donors and spending. Now it's shutting down because Judge Jeffrey Sherlock ruled it has to reveal where it gets its money and how it spends it.

We do know a few things about American Tradition Partnership. According to SourceWatch,
ATP has joined tea party lobbying efforts, signing at least two letters to Congress in the last year urging an end to an end to tax credits for wind power and natural gas-fueled vehicles. The letters were signed by Koch-funded groups including Americans for Prosperity and tea party boosters FreedomWorks, Club for Growth and Art Pope’s John Locke Foundation. 
In its 2008 application for tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organization, ATP listed its “primary donor” as Jacob Jabs, Colorado’s largest furniture retailer and a donor to Republican candidates and causes. Jabs pledged a $300,000 contribution to get ATP on its feet, according to IRS records obtained by the Center for Public Integrity. Jabs's spokeswoman said he did not make a donation and has "never heard of" ATP or the group's previous incarnation. Jabs also poured money into a failed “right to work” ballot initiative in Colorado, becoming a television spokesman for the 2008 anti-union effort.
Sounds all too familiar...