Conservative political group distributes `newspaper’ savaging Bullock

2012-10-29T20:00:00Z 2014-08-25T06:39:16Z Conservative political group distributes `newspaper’ savaging BullockBy MIKE DENNISON Gazette State Bureau The Billings Gazette
October 29, 2012 8:00 pm  • 

HELENA — A conservative political group is publishing and mailing a version of its newsletter to 120,000 Montanans. Resembling a newspaper, it contains articles attacking gubernatorial candidate Steve Bullock and other Montana Democrats.

Titled the “Montana Statesman” and billing itself as “Montana’s most trusted news source,” the flier is being distributed by American Tradition Partnership (ATP), a pro-development, anti-environmental group.

The first issue was mailed last week to 120,000 Montana households, said ATP Executive Director Donald Ferguson.

Ferguson said a second and third issue will go out in the mail this week. The flier is a special edition of the group’s quarterly newsletter usually sent to its supporters, he said.

The edition sent last week leads with a headline that says “Bullock admits failure; 1 in 4 sex offenders go unregistered,” and contains five articles without bylines and a full-page advertisement criticizing Bullock for various offenses.

A second issue, available online, has articles attacking Bullock and other Democratic candidates.

Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Jim Murry said the “newspaper” looks like campaign material, which would require whoever sends it to report its expenses and financial backers.

“I suspect they are skirting the law because they understand that they can do this kind of thing, and not be in an advocacy kind of position,” he said.

If a group doesn’t directly advocate for or against a candidate, it can call itself an educational group and isn’t required to report its donors or expenditures.

Ferguson said ATP is not an advocacy group.

“We don’t tell people who to vote for; we never do,” he said Monday. “We just want candidates to change their positions.”

Bullock campaign spokeswoman Kate Downen said allegations leveled against Bullock in the ATP newspaper “are 100 percent incorrect and fabricated by outside parties who are trying to influence the election.”

Copyright 2015 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More from the Gazette

Missoula County judge retiring May 1

5 hours agoLoading…
Highlands mine could mean primary, secondary jobs for Butte

Highlands mine could mean primary, secondary jobs for Butte

9 hours ago Photos

Photos

Loading…
Legitimate questions and politics collide with welfare whistleblowers

Legitimate questions and politics collide with welfare whistleblowers

15 hours ago Photos

Photos

Loading…
Taxing and spending: How much money is coming in and how will it be spent

Taxing and spending: How much money is coming in and how will it be spent

January 24, 2015 6:45 pm Photos

Photos

Loading…

Missoula federal building studied for possible VA clinic

January 24, 2015 4:00 pmLoading…
Helena man sentenced to 50 years for 11th drunk-driving offense

Helena man sentenced to 50 years for 11th drunk-driving offense

January 24, 2015 11:00 amLoading…
Missoula native Darian Stevens seeking X Games medal

Missoula native Darian Stevens seeking X Games medal

January 24, 2015 10:30 amLoading…
Carroll Saints help woman, child from burning car

Carroll Saints help woman, child from burning car

January 24, 2015 10:19 amLoading…

Follow The Billings Gazette

Popular Stories

Get weekly ads via e-mail

Featured Businesses