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Don Thomas (Aug. 7 guest opinion) makes a number of false allegations against my nonprofit, whose research was recently used by Ravalli County commissioners in preparing a letter to state Attorney General Tim Fox about dark money flowing into Montana environmental groups.

What’s important about Thomas’ name-calling is that he does not deny the underlying facts. My organization has been tracking millions of dollars from leftwing/environmental interests flowing into “sportsmen’s” groups in Montana and elsewhere.

Environmental lobbyists in San Francisco know they get a cold reception in Montana and other Mountain West states. These states are familiar with the fact that the radical environmental agenda would do serious harm to their communities, including shutting down grazing on public lands, mining, oil & gas extraction, and logging.

These environmental groups have been quietly funding groups that appear to be sportsmen’s organizations, such as the Missoula-based Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, to carry their message—in camouflage. Tax records show that these “sportsmen” groups get most or much of their money from wealthy environmental foundations.

We call these groups “Green Decoys.”

Sometimes there are front groups that appear local. The so-called “Western Values Project,” which last year ran a six-figure ad campaign on the national monuments, is often called Montana-based. In truth, it has a P.O. Box in Whitefish, but it is operated out of a leftwing Washington, D.C. hub with a $300 million budget that specializes in setting up front groups.

Montana sportsmen should be careful that they aren’t being used as pawns.

Will Coggin

Environmental Policy Alliance

Washington, D.C.

 

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