Two complaints filed this week by a Republican led group in Montana lay out a damning case against lobbying group National Right To Work Committee and affiliated groups and individuals for years of extensive illegal campaign activity.
Two complaints were filed on Monday, April 21st with the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices. The first was filed against the National Right to Work Committee and people associated with it. The second complaint was against people and organizations including Western Tradition Partnership / American Tradition Partnership and the people behind those groups including Christian and Allison LeFer and Donny Ferguson. Ferguson is currently communications director for Texas Congressman Steve Stockman.
National Right To Work Committee Allegations
The allegations made against the National Right to Work committee are stark and consistent with the months of reporting I’ve done on the group — it claims that they operated secret printing presses, coordinated illegally with candidates and operated a number of deceptive front groups.
This complaint is being filed against National Right to Work Committee and its affiliates, agents, officers, and directors for violations of Montana campaign finance and practices laws. For many years, the National Right to Work Committee has operated a secret political mail operation. The National Right to Work Committee owns its own printing presses and has the ability to produce thousands of mailings
in less than a few weeks. During the 2008, 2010, and 2012 election cycles the National Right to Work Committee through its affiliates and agents mailed thousands of pieces of election material to Montana voters. The National Prolife Alliance, National League of Taxpayers, National Association of Gun Rights, National Gun Owners Alliance, and Western Tradition Partnership/American Tradition Partnership are nothing more than front groups/agents of the National Right to Work Committee and act under the direction of the National Right to Work Committee.
Although the National Right to Work Committee has taken various steps to conceal the connection of the front groups/affiliates, there is enough publically available information to suggest a connection between the National Right to Work Committee and entities identified above. The National Right to Work Committee is located at 8001 Braddock Road, Suite 500 in Springfield, VA 22160. The National Prolife Alliance is located at 5211 Port Royal Road, Suite 500, Springfield, VA 22151. It is believed these addresses are for the same office building. The office building where the National Right to Work Committee is located is at the intersection of Braddock Road and Port Royal Road in Springfield, Virginia. An analysis of Google Maps shows the same office building is used for both addresses.
The connection between these entities is more apparent when reviewing other publically available information. According to documents submitted to the Federal Elections Commission, the treasurer for the National Prolife Alliance PAC is Steve Antosh. Mr. Antosh’s personal residence is 3237 Fairfax, VA. (Fairfax County Treasurer Records). This is the same address as the National League of Taxpayers. The President of the National Gun Owners Alliance is Dennis Fusaro who was also a prominent member of the National Right to Work Committee. The National Gun Owners Alliance has also used the same mailing address as the National League of Taxpayers.
Christian Lefer is the officer of Montana Citizens for Right to Work. Montana Citizens for Right to Work is financed by the National Right to Work Committee. See National Right to Work IRS Tax Returns. Mr. Lefer has also acted as an agent of Western Tradition Partnership/American Tradition Partnership. On information and belief, the National Right to Work Committee contributed to and/or financed the political operation of Montana Citizens for Right to Work/Western TraditionPartnership/American Tradition Partnership. These entities have never filed any of the necessary paperwork required by Montana law and have never disclosed any contributions and/or expenditures. The complaint filed by Bruce Tutvedt shows a flyer paid for by the National Association for Gun Rights. The bulk mail postage stamp shows the flyer originated from the same mail house as the mailers sent by Western Tradition Partnership. It is believed the mailers were produced by Christian Lefer and/or Direct Mail and Communicati ons.
Lefers, Donny Ferguson May Face Multi-Million Dollar Fines
Both complaints is seeking remedies including hefty fines and other injunctions from the LeFers, Ferguson, National Right to Work President Mark Mix and others because it says they are personally liable under Montana law:
The agents, officers, and directors of WTP/ATP/TFL/AAF/MCRW are personally liable for all fines, penalties, and other sanctions resulting from the violations listed above under the following statutes:
1. Section 13-35-105, MCA. Under Montana law, a person who aids and abets the conduct of a person who violates a provision of Montana election law is also guilty of a violation of that provision.
2. Section 28-10-702, MCA. Under Montana law, a person who assumes to act as an agent is responsible to third persons when the agent’s acts are wrongful in their nature.
The complaint asks for:
A fine against each party in the amount of three times the amount spent by WTP/ATP/TFL/AAF/MCRW and the other associated entities in the 2010 and 2012 election cycles under § 13-37-128, MCA. It is my understanding WTP/ATP alone spent roughly $500,000 in the 2010 election cycle. Thus, for the 2010 election cycle, I would request a fine against each person or entity who committed violations in the 2010 election cycle for the amount of $1,500,000 just for the WTP/ATP expenditures. I would request other equivalent fines based upon the amount of spending by the other entities in 2010 and 2012;
An inspection of documents and reports under § 13-37-121, MCA and issuance of orders of noncompliance as authorized by law;
An injunction pursuant to § 13-35-108, MCA to prohibit WTP/ATP/TFL/AAF/MCRW and its entities, associates, affiliates, subsidiaries, officers, directors, treasurers, and agents from spending any money or performing any election related activity until WTP/ATP/TFL/AAF/MCRW are in compliance with Montana law;
Complaints Filed By Republican Group
The complaints were filed by a Republican affiliated group called Business Advocates for Sensible Elections. As Montana TV station KXLH reported:
“Dark money” is the term commonly used to refer to money spent to influence an election that does not disclose the source of the funding.
After MT State Senator Ed Buttrey (R-Great Falls) didn’t vote in a way that satisfied so called “dark money” groups during the session, he says that he was threatened: “It was told to me, ‘You are dead in the next election…we are coming after you.’”
But despite fear of possible retaliation, Buttrey, along with several Republican lawmakers, are fighting back.
The group is called Montana Business Advocates for Sensible Elections – abbreviated Montana BASE – and their issue is with 501(c)4 organizations, also known as “dark money” groups.