QUESTION OF THE DAY: Why is Greg Gianforte fighting FOR dark money?

(Helena, MT) Greg Gianforte, the New Jersey-turned-Montana billionaire, is almost solely funding the opposition to Sen. Duane Ankney (R-Colstrip) and Gov. Steve Bullock’s landmark clean campaign legislation.  The question is: WHY?

Senate Bill 289, the Montana Disclose Act, throws sunlight on the political process by simply requiring any organization engaged in electioneering to disclose the financers of any political communication.  And recent votes in the state capitol have shown that the bipartisan legislation clearly enjoys majority support in both chambers. 

But organizations that Gianforte funds and his close affiliates have spent weeks trying to throw procedural hurdles at the campaign finance reform measure.

  • Leading the opposition to the bill is the Montana Family Foundation, which in just a few years received over $500,000 from Gianforte.
  • Jeff Laszloffy, who heads the so-called Family Foundation and is Gianforte’s political operative, incorrectly and outrageously claimed that the DISCLOSE Act would require, “houses of worship…to publicize every single tithe they receive. [Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Accessed 3/25/15]
  • Rep. Art Wittich (R-Belgrade) – who has served as Gianforte’s lawyer – trashed the bipartisan alliance supporting this measure and said, if passed, “will disadvantage campaigning by Republicans and businesses.” [Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Accessed 3/25/15]
  • Another opponent to the measure, the Montana Policy Institute, has accepted $26,000 from Gianforte.

“Why is Greg Gianforte leading the fight against transparency? What is he trying to hide,” said Jim Larson, Chairman of the Montana Democratic Party.

Gianforte has financed the ongoing “civil war” in the Montana Republican Party, funding organizations that have used “dark money” to wage nasty attacks against fellow Republicans in primaries.  That party conflict has often spilled into public view – most recently yesterday as nearly a dozen Republicans bucked party leadership to support clean campaigns.

Look for the same fight on the state house floor again today – where the out-numbered Tea Party Republicans, most of whom have been recipients of Gianforte’s largesse, will try to kill the bipartisan DISCLOSE Act.

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