ATP statement on PBS claims

BOZEMAN — American Tradition Partnership Executive Director Donald Ferguson released the following statement Monday morning regarding bizarre and false claims made by PBS:

With days to go until Montanans vote, the activist group ProPublica has decided to release a misleading, sensationalist story built around personal property stolen from a car and delivered by a meth user to ATP’s political opponents.  The story falsely links ATP to individual activities the organization has no connection to.

ATP always has, and always will, obey every applicable law.  As has been the case with every legal issue we have brought forward, this will be decided in ATP’s favor for one simple reason – the law is always on our side.  In fact, ATP just won another court case this morning against the Commission on Political Practices for that exact reason.

ATP does not, and never will, tell voters which candidate to vote for.  ATP speaks on the issues, informing voters where candidates stand and of their public records.

Additionally, no candidate has any say or control over what ATP publishes.  I have never met or spoken to virtually all the candidates on the ballot.  Other than sending them a candidate questionnaire I have never communicated most of them.  The story itself admits there is no proof of coordination, and there is no coordination.

Additionally, I seriously doubt stolen property acquired by a meth user and spread around by political activists are true, accurate, unaltered and complete documents.  Earlier this year another liberal group stole documents from another free market environmental organization, the Heartland Institute, and proceeded to engage in forgery and fraud for the purposes of smearing conservatives for political gain (http://spectator.org/blog/2012/02/17/theft-and-apparent-forgery-of).

In the past Frontline has broken into computer databases for a story on tuna fishing and relied on the word of a convicted felon fired from an Atlanta dentistry clinic to smear private dentistry, without informing viewers.  ATP, on the other hand, has always obeyed every letter of every applicable law and eventually won every court case it has ever brought.

I would suggest the media tread carefully before publishing politically-timed stories built on stolen and possibly forged documents that are unrelated to ATP and distributed by a meth user, politicians and a program with a history of unethical and illegal practices.

* ABC News: Politico: CPI’s Reporting Involved Possible Misdemeanor, Paid Source (Source of false ATP attacks committed crime, violated journalistic ethics)

* Washington Post: Center for Public Integrity changes its story (Source of false ATP attacks takes payoffs in exchange for reporting)

* POLITICO: Tuna and turmoil at CPI (Source of false ATP attacks committed crime)

* PBS Defends Use of Convicted Felon as Expert on Documentary (Source of false ATP attacks has history of relying on convicted felons for reporting)