Montana Legislators (02:45)
U.S. Senator Jon Tester, candidate for state legislature Debra Bonogofsky, State Senators Jim Peterson and Llew Jones, and State Representatives Ellie Hill and Amanda Curtis discuss their everyday lives and working in government.
Fraudulent Flyers (03:32)
John Adams interviews former Montana State Representative John Ward about a smear campaign accusing him of befriending a serial killer. Jones describes political attacks funded by dark money. The Executive Director of FollowTheMoney.org explains that the strategy is becoming more common for special interest groups.
Campaign Finance (05:33)
Control of Montana politics comes with authority over vast resources; he expresses concern about the buying of American government. Chair of Federal Election Commission Ann Ravel discusses campaign finance as a gateway issue for all others; she refers to Watergate and the Koch network of political non-profits. Chuck Johnson and Jonathan Motl, describe their organization's lack of support; they require disclosure and prohibit corporate campaign donations.
Berkeley Pit (02:50)
Adams discusses the purpose of citizen legislature and historical corruption in Montana. Curtis views an abandoned open pit copper mine filled with acidic water; hundreds of geese died while resting there in 1995. Located at the headwaters of the Columbia River, the toxic pit is a threat to the Pacific Northwest.
Finance Litigation (08:05)
The copper mining Anaconda Company controlled newspapers and politics; citizens responded by passing the 1912 Corrupt Practices Act. The 2010 United State Supreme Court decision for Citizens United overturned election finance laws, allowing companies to donate freely. Montana chose to protect the previous legislature, prompting American Trade Partnership to file suit.
American Trade Partnership (04:28)
Jim Brown agrees with the United States Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Citizens United. Citizens posed Initiative 166, asserting that corporations are not people. Bender discusses smear ads and dark money spent to keep Tester and Steve Bullock out of politics.
Dark Money Ideology (06:00)
In 2013, Adams obtained copies of Montana Senate leadership emails discussing agenda control and purging moderate Republicans; the conservative senators received dark money contributions. Rob Cook and Jones explain the reach and negative impact on freedom of speech. Debra Bonogofsky describes being targeted for refusing to vote as instructed.
Following the Money (03:57)
The data flow of FollowTheMoney.org enables voters to see which politicians are influenced by lobbyists; non-profit organizations are not required to report donors. Sheila Krumholz explains the rise of C-4 non-profits used to control government. Adams diagrams the dark money feedback loop manipulating voters through propaganda based on personal information.
Manipulating the Courts (05:17)
A leaked report reveals dark money influence in Wisconsin elections; C-4 non-profits helped Scott Walker's recall efforts. Paul Ryan and Adams explain how politicians and State Supreme Court judges accepted bribes and were involved with strategy. Jim Nelson discusses corporate ownership of all branches of government, and the disbanding of the accountability board.
Western Tradition Partnership (07:50)
Experts deliberate the procurement of Western Tradition Partnership documents. Debra Bonogofsky filed a complaint after becoming the target of a smear campaign. Group members changed the operation's name to American Tradition Partnership to avoid disclosure and contribution laws; Motl asserts evidence of their illegal coordination with state legislators.
Americans for Prosperity (05:11)
Trevor Potter lectures on American Oligarchs; see Americans for Prosperity promotional videos. Montana Supreme Court Justice Mike Wheat discusses negative campaign ads ran against him. After refusing to commit to limiting Medicaid, Jeff Wellburn and other legislators were targets of Koch promoted town hall meetings.
Montana Disclose Act (03:04)
Senator Frank Garner discusses the 2015 Montana Disclose Act and dark money. Wittich and members of the the House of Representatives deliberate the bill.
Owning the Media (02:57)
After Lee News papers purchased ownership from the Anaconda Company, the established a State Bureau to cover campaign finance; the bureau was dismantled and journalists forced to resign. Special Attorney General Gene Jarussi discusses past and present corporate control of press.
Controlling the Federal Election Commission (02:44)
See coverage of a commission meeting; Ellen Weintraub explains that in 2008, all new Republican commissioners were appointed, voting homogeneously, and preventing consequential action. Ravel asserts they no longer enforce campaign laws.
Right to Work (07:08)
Adams prepares to live in his truck and report from the road; see his newspaper headlines. Jarussi describes the 2016 case against Wittich. An American Tradition Partnership intern exposes emails revealing the Right to Work agenda to end labor unions; Motl discusses connections between the organizations and their control of politicians.
Montana Free Press (03:15)
The news soure was established to report on Right to Work interference in Montana elections; Adams discusses the suit against Wittich. See the news organization's first board meeting.
Commissioner of Political Practices v. Wittich (13:07)
Jarussi and Lucinda Luetkemeyer make opening statements; the trial concerns acceptance of illegal contributions. Former Right to Work staffer Sarah Arnold testifies to the corrupt practices of American Trade Partnership; jurors reach a guilty verdict and Wittich is fined and voted out of office.
American Experiment (04:36)
Thousands more geese die in Berkley Pit waters. Ravel reads her resignation letter to President Trump, urging him to reform finance laws; she discusses unregulated internet and the future of campaigning. Radio clips describe election reform progress.
Credits: Dark Money (02:43)
Credits: Dark Money
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