steve bullock montana

Judge orders COPP to turn over stolen ATP materials, slams State for improper conduct

Posted on December 20, 2012 by Donald Ferguson

Judge orders COPP to turn over stolen ATP materials, slams State for improper conduct  

>> Court order rebukes COPP for improperly holding stolen evidence from a criminal investigation, using it to smear candidates before an election
>> Ferguson warns Bullock: ‘This is how Nixon got impeached.’

LIVINGSTON, MONT. — A Montana judge ordered the state’s Commission on Political Practices James Murry Monday to turn over materials that were stolen from a political consultant’s car and trafficked across state lines to Democrat state appointees for use in an election-eve attack on Republican candidates.

Judge Nels Swandal of Montana’s Sixth Judicial District ruled that Commissioner Murry has demonstrated a willingness to disclose private documents to the public, and an inability or unwillingness to keep the such documents secure.

Murry has until Friday to turn over to Swandal all materials or face contempt charges.  The suit was filed by Christian LeFer, consultant to American Tradition Partnership, and Allison LeFer, owner of an unrelated printing and candidate mail business.

ATP is not a party to the suit and has no interest in Allison LeFer’s business or clients, but ATP’s stolen private financial records are among the documents that must be turned over.

In March 2010 ATP asked LeFer to transport the group’s documents to Colorado to be scanned and archived. They were stolen from LeFer’s car, along with other unrelated documents belonging to her own business.

The materials were later found by a convicted meth dealer, who amazingly had the presence of mind to contact the husband of a Democrat Colorado State Senator. Amazingly, though the car which was recovered stripped of its valuables and contents, the documents were the only materials that have turned up.

Rather than contact law enforcement, Schwartz contacted political allies in Montana and worked with the meth dealer to traffic the stolen materials across state lines to the COPP in March 2011.

Upon learning nearly two years later Montana officials conspired with a meth dealer to traffic ATP’s stolen private financial information across state lines, ATP immediately contacted the FBI.

Swandal ruled the documents “appear clearly to consist of stolen property, and are evidence regarding the criminal investigation of the car theft in Colorado.”

“This is going to end very badly for Steve Bullock, Jim Murry and Colorado State Senator Gail Schwartz,” said Ferguson. “ATP has contacted the FBI.  This is now Nixon got impeached along with 48 government cronies convicted of crimes.  People don’t like it when corrupt politicians interfere with criminal investigations and conspire with criminals to evade law enforcement.”

“We didn’t know they had our stolen bank records for nearly two years. I’m no legal expert but intentionally hiding stolen property that is evidence in a criminal investigation reeks of a felony,” said Ferguson.

Swandal ruled Montana officials used the stolen materials to attack certain candidates in an apparent effort to influence an election. “(I)t is undisputed that Commissioner Murry gave national news media access to the Colorado Documents which they used in October, 2012, in an apparent effort to embarrass certain candidates on the eve of the 2012 election,” wrote Swandal.

The Political Practices Commissioner’s legally-mandated job is to enforce campaign finance laws in an impartial manner, not to attack those who disagree with the governor who installed him.  As a taxpayer-funded non-profit corporation PBS (the media outlet that aired the report) is prohibited from assisting the campaigns of political candidates.

“The fact COPP looked at all the materials, found absolutely NO wrongdoing to act on and instead of returning them, secretly held them for nearly two years so they could coordinate an election-eve attack makes the State look unbelievably corrupt,” said Ferguson.

“Commissioner Murry has refused to return the Colorado Documents to their owners and has not stated a legal basis for his refusal,” Swandal writes.

“Furthermore, it appears from the evidence that Commissioner Murry cannot continue to guarantee the security of the Colorado Documents. For example, his office was recently burglarized. According to Commissioner Murry, ‘The office is located in an old house on the Capitol campus, and Murray says ‘it’s a well-known fact that security is minimal.’”

Swandal declared Murray has shown “his demonstrated inability or unwillingness to keep the Colorado Documents secure.”

“I’m sure it’s no coincidence that after the documents were ordered sealed by a judge someone just happened to try and break in the COPP offices to steal them.  It’s typical of the corruption that reeks in Helena,” said Ferguson.

COPP also used stolen ATP financial information to publicize the names and contact information of ATP’s donors.  Under section 501(c)4 of IRC federal law, such information is protected for privacy reasons.

“We are contacting the IRS and Treasury Department to see what federal laws were broken by Steve Bullock and Jim Murry,” said Ferguson.

“ATP always obeys every letter of every applicable law. Everything we do is not just legal but in pursuit of accountable government.  Corrupt politicians hate us, and we have seen them lower themselves to lies, smears and now working with meth dealers to traffic in stolen materials” said ATP Executive Director Donald Ferguson.


ATP Responds to Frontline’s False Claims

Posted on October 30, 2012 by Donald Ferguson

American Tradition Partnership Responds to Frontline Story’s False Claims of Campaign Finance Violations

Coordinated smear campaign by political opponents revealed

October 30, 2012 –American Tradition Partnership (ATP) responded late Tuesday evening to the false claims of improper political activity alleged in this evening’s broadcast of “Big Sky, Big Money” on PBS’s Frontline.

“This is simply the latest unsubstantiated, well-coordinated attack on American Tradition Partnership, brought on by opponents of the work we do to educate grassroots citizens about important issues related to the environment, energy, and economic growth,” said Donald Ferguson, Executive Director of ATP. “Aside from wild conspiracy theories and willful misreadings of applicable campaign finance and nonprofit laws, tonight’s Frontline story simply revealed what most Montanans and Americans already knew: that radical anti-growth environmentalists aren’t the only ones who are free to organize, raise money, and communicate with the public on important policy topics.”

The Frontline story, as well as coordinated articles appearing online at the web sites of leftist groups ProPublica and the Center for Public Integrity, relies heavily on stolen documents of dubious validity. The documents purported to come from ATP apparently made their way from a stolen car to a ‘meth house’ in Denver, into the hands of Colorado Democratic Party operatives, and from there to the Montana Commission on Political Practices (COPP). ATP has not been allowed to see the documents to assess their authenticity, but has been able to confirm that some of the documents are not ATP-related but instead are connected with other clients of an ATP consultant or an independent  mailshop owned by the same consultant’s wife.

“It would be very interesting to know just how several media outlets were able to view stolen documents in the custody of the Montana Commission on Political Practices but no attempt was made to return them to their owners,” said Ferguson. “This looks to be just another example of corruption at the Commission and by the political establishment, who are enraged that the public are being told the truth.”

The head of Montana’s COPP is a direct appointee of the governor, unique among all states. The past three Commissioners have all been political allies of the current governor, including his campaign attorney and treasurer. One of the three was forced to resign this summer after engaging in illegal activities as Commissioner. Current Attorney General and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Steve Bullock has been repeatedly embarrassed in recent months by numerous losses to ATP and other citizens and groups as Montana’s unconstitutional campaign finance laws have been successfully challenged.

“Our success in challenging radical environmentalists and the grossly unconstitutional campaign finance system they and their allies rely on to stifle debate has won us some very powerful enemies,” Ferguson said. “While we’d prefer to see recognition for our hard work come in some form other than baseless smears and hysterical innuendo on national television, we’re proud of our efforts to educate grassroots citizens.”

Earlier today a judge blocked further release of the stolen documents. ATP has also notified state and federal law enforcement authorities about the illegal transfer and possession of stolen goods that was apparently undertaken by Democratic Party officials as well as the staff of Frontline, ProPublica, and the Center for Public Integrity.

Bullock faces more than $46,000 fine for illegal campaign checks

Posted on October 25, 2012 by Donald Ferguson

Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock faces a fine between $15,472.15 and $46,416.45 after the state’s Commission on Political Practices ruled he passed 11 illegal campaign checks totaling $15,472.15 in the Nov. 6 race for governor.

Under Montana law the fine for a campaign finance violation is one to three times the amount involved.

Bullock, the state’s top law enforcement officer, faces around a dozen other charges of illegal campaign fundraising that are still to be ruled on by the Commission.

Additionally, Bullock must appear before a federal judge Monday to face contempt charges after he falsely claimed a $500,000 contribution from the Montana Republican Party to his opponent, Rick Hill, was illegal and sought enforcement actions.  The contribution was legal at the time it was made.  Retroactively enforcing laws that did not exist at the time violates the federal court order in the case, as well as the U.S. Constitution.

Bullock will also likely face a federal investigation in a corruption case to be filed next week.

ATP not surprised Bullock found guilty of breaking campaign finance laws

Posted on by Donald Ferguson

BOZEMAN — American Tradition Partnership is not surprised Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock was found guilty Thursday of breaking state campaign finance laws regarding 11 illegal campaign checks totaling $15,472.15.

“Steve Bullock has repeatedly thrown false accusations at American Tradition Partnership and anyone else who questions his agenda,” said ATP Executive Director Donald Ferguson.  “Once again we find out the only person breaking the law is Steve Bullock himself.”

“This is just the tip of the iceberg.  Montana citizens have filed over a dozen other documented cases of Bullock pocketing illegal PAC and corporate contributions,” said Ferguson.  “And there will be new documented revelations of wrongdoing and corruption against Bullock coming out as we verify the information.”

The decision was issued by Deputy Commissioner of Political Practices Jay Dufrechou, a former donor to Bullock.

American Tradition Partnership, through its Montana Statesman newspaper, is offering cash rewards for tips leading to the arrest.  Citizens can forward information to or 219-7287.

Since its founding in Montana, by Montanans, in 2007, ATP has held public officials accountable for corruption and cozy ties to job-killing environmentalists.  The group has never been found guilty of wrongdoing, which is more than can be said for Steve Bullock.

Steve Bullock under state investigation for illegal corporate fundraising

Posted on October 19, 2012 by Donald Ferguson

From the Montana Statesman:

Steve Bullock (Attorney General), and the Montana Department of Justice don’t want you to know what they are lobbying for – and have apparently been running a disinformation campaign about what they support and don’t support.

This has been revealed in a formal complaint submitted to the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices.

The official complaint can be read here: Reid v Dep’t of Justice and Bullock

The Commissioner’s website states -  “Issue: On September 5, 2012 Catherine Reid filed a complaint against The Department of Justice and Attorney General Steve Bullock alleging violations of Lobbying Laws…
Status: Investigation Pending“

But there are many more campaign finance complaints against Attorney General Steve Bullock – just click on any of the state investigations below:

Issue: On September 24, 2012 Richard Little filed a complaint against Steve Bullock alleging violations of campaign finance and practices laws.
Status: Investigation Pending
Issue: On September 24, 2012 Don Hart filed a complaint against Steve Bullock alleging violations of campaign finance and practices laws.
Status: Investigation Pending
Issue: On September 10, 2012 Klaas Tuininga filed a complaint against Steve Bullock alleging violations of campaign finance and practices laws.
Status: Investigation Pending
Issue: On September 7, 2012 Glen Swope filed a complaint against Steve Bullock alleging violations of campaign finance and practices laws.
Status: Investigation Pending
Issue: On September 7, 2012 Philip Olson filed a complaint against Steve Bullock alleging violations of campaign finance and practices laws.
Status: Investigation Pending

COPP documents: Bullock took 18 illegal PAC, corporate checks

Posted on October 17, 2012 by Donald Ferguson

American Tradition Partnership Executive Director Donald Ferguson released the following statement Friday afternoon:

I’m surprised to read Attorney General Steve Bullock claim he will not accept contributions above the unconstitutional $630 limit.  Back when the contribution law was in force he violated it and other campaign finance laws at least 18 times.

Why did Bullock wait until the law was overturned to suddenly decide he’ll stop breaking it?

American Tradition Partnership follows every applicable law to the letter.  Every case we have ever brought has eventually been settled in our favor.  The law and the Constitution are always on our side.

But when it comes to breaking Montana’s campaign finance laws, Steve Bullock is a virtual Al Capone. Make no mistake.  Steve Bullock is one of the most corrupt public officials in the United States.

According to sworn, documented complaints filed with the Commissioner of Political Practices (

* Bullock pocketed contributions from the Pfizer drug company corporate PAC on Apr. 27, 2009, June 10, 2011 and June 4, 2012 that totaled far above the legal limit, by nearly 50 percent. (Tuininga v. Bullock)

* Bullock pocketed corporate PAC cash from British-based GlaxoSmithKline on Dec. 15, 2009, Aug. 1, 2011 and June 4, 2012 that totaled twice the legal limit. (Tuininga v. Bullock)

* Bullock pocketed primary election contributions from the Endo drug company corporate PAC on May 16, 2012 at twice the legal limit. (Tuininga v. Bullock)

(It should be noted Bullock was supposed to be negotiating with these drug companies on price-fixing allegations while taking that cash.)

* Bullock received a $300.00 check from the GFEA union PAC, on Mar. 16, 2011.  GFEA is not a legal PAC, therefore Bullock accepted an illegal contribution. (Tuininga v. Bullock)

* Bullock took illegal contributions from the BFFL 521 union PAC, on May 16, 2012 that were more than double the legal limit. (Tuininga v. Bullock)

* Bullock also took $1,260.00 in funds from the MEA MFT COPE union PAC on February 1, 2012, that is also twice the legal limit. (Tuininga v. Bullock)

* Bullock did the same thing, which is again illegal, when he pocketed the same amounts from the HEA union PAC on June 4, 2012. (Tuininga v. Bullock)

* Bullock took funds at the legal limit from the Montana Public Employees Association PAC, on April 9, 2012, but then accepted an additional $500 – which is illegal – just weeks later on May 31. (Tuininga v. Bullock)

* Bullock took $600 from the “Rent-A-Center, Inc. Good Government Committee” PAC, the corporate PAC of Rent-A-Center, on June 30, 2011.  Bullock then received an additional $660 on Apr. 13, 2012, which is above the legal limit both cumulatively and as an individual gift.  Bullock also reported it as coming from the “RAC Good Government Committee” to make it appear to be a different donor. (Olson v. Swope)

* Bullock pocketed $630 from Glacier PAC on Mar. 11, 2012 that was legally designated for the general election, but Bullock reported it for the primary (Tuininga v. Bullock)  That allows him to later solicit an illegal contribution.

* Bullock took two contributions from the Swiss-based Holcim corporation PAC totaling $620.  Holcim wrote two checks, $310 for the primary and $310 for the general but Bullock reported them both for the primary (Tuininga v. Bullock).  That allows him to later solicit an illegal contribution.

* Bullock pocketed contributions from The Home Depot corporate PAC totaling $1,260 on Dec. 14, 2011 for the primary election. (Tuininga v. Bullock)  That is twice the legal limit.

* Bullock also did the same thing with Lowe’s corporate PAC on June 5, 2012 (Tuininga v. Bullock)

* Bullock took $310 from Publishers Clearing House, which is a corporation and not a PAC. (Swope v. Bullock) Corporate donations are expressly illegal.

* Bullock took three checks from “Citizens for Responsible Government – Employees of MSE,” one for $300 on May 12, 2011, one for $300 on Dec. 7, 2011 and one for $660 just a week later on Dec. 14, 2011.  (Swope v. Bullock) The legal limit for a PAC is $630, putting Bullock over the legal limit by $600.

* Bullock took $600 from McDaniel Leadership PAC, which is not registered with the OPP.  It also appears to be a corporation out of Arkansas (Swope v. Bullock)

* Bullock reported spending just $15 dollars for a room at the Big Sky Resort on Jan. 15, 2012.  (Swope v. Bullock) Rooms cost well over $100 a night, therefore Montana law requires the difference should have been reported as a contribution to Bullock, which he failed to do.  Additionally, corporate contributions are also illegal.

American Tradition Partnership follows every applicable law to the letter.

Steve Bullock habitually breaks the law, then tries to cover it up with phony allegations against others that are always thrown out of court.

Instead of false accusations and phony charges against law-abiding citizens Bullock should stop breaking the laws he’s supposed to enforce.

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