The National Right to Work Committee’s massive illegal campaign activity involved manipulating and using college students in Montana, a report issued in October, 2010 shows. The incidents involved National Right to Work employee Christian LeFer, who set up front groups in Montana in 2008. LeFer and his wife Allie also ran a print shop there.
I’ve previously written about LeFer and the Montana scheme in my article #StafferGate, Steve Stockman, Donny Ferguson & The Montana Connection. That piece provides a good primer to some of the other activities in states like Iowa.
[su_pullquote align=”right”]NRTW isn’t above ensnaring college students…[/su_pullquote]Part of the NRTW’s pattern of illegal campaign activities involves setting up front groups in order to mask their activities and move money around. LeFer set up two front groups:Western Tradition Partnership (referred to in the report WTP) and the Coalition for Energy and the Environment (referred to as CEE.)
I’ve phoned Mr. LeFer twice. He declined to speak to me.
The report’s charges give an indication of illegal campaign activities that the National Right to Work Committee has been involved in other than the candidate letter writing, printing and mailing program I’ve written about.
The report states that charges were filed in Montana againt :.
Western Tradition Partnership (WTP) and the Coalition for Energy and the Environment (CEE), alleging a flyer produced and distributed by one or both of the groups failed to include proper “paid for by. . .” attribution language, in violation of Montana campaign finance and practices laws. The complaint against WTP also alleges that the person responsible for the flyer failed to provide public disclosure by registering and filing campaign finance reports with the office of the Commissioner of Political Practices
The report says that
The evidence is overwhelming that CEE was established by WTP as a sham organization to create the illusion that WTP was not directly involved in campaign activities directly opposing candidates for public office. The evidence shows that WTP‟s ultimate purpose in Montana in 2008 was not to discuss issues, but to directly influence candidate elections through surreptitious means.
I’ve written about National Right To Work’s willingness to involve wives and daughters in their illegality. The Montana report shows they aren’t above ensnaring college students, either.
The report says:
On June 11, 2008, CEE filed a Statement of Organization (Form C-2) with CPP as a political action committee (PAC). Fawn Kirkpatrick, who at the time was a student at Montana State University – Bozeman, was listed as the Treasurer.
According to her LinkedIn account, Ms. Kirkpatrick is now a law student:
The Montana commission-the CPP- was looking into Finance report filed by the CEE.
The report listed MSU student Fawn Kirkpatrick as Treasurer (see Fact 25), but was not signed. CPP staff members were unable to contact Kirkpatrick – her email and telephone contact information listed on the previously filed Statement of Organization (Form C-2) was found to be incorrect. The report listed a $2,000 contribution from treasurer Fawn Kirkpatrick…
The idea being that many college students write $2,000 checks to start political groups.
Ms. Kirkpatrick soon left the group. LeFer was forced to find a replacement.
The report shows how LeFer ensnared another MSU student named Brian Witt. Christian LeFer sweet talked Witt.
Witt stated he was a student at MSU- Bozeman and spoke to a friend about becoming active in politics. The friend introduced Witt to Christian LeFer, who convinced Witt to become Treasurer of CEE.
According to Witt, LeFer told him it would “look great” on his resume, and he wouldn‟t have to do anything – that LeFer would prepare all the necessary reports for Witt‟s signature.
Witt claims he only signed reports and correspondence that were prepared by others and submitted to him. He was not involved in compiling the reports or drafting the correspondence, he said.
When Witt was interviewed by investigators, he reveal the extent of the LeFer’s actual participation in the groups.
Witt also provided copies of email exchanges between him and Christian LeFer which establish that LeFer was affiliated with and closely involved in the activities of WTP and CEE.
- An October 5, 2008 email from LeFer directs Witt to contact CPP and “find out what it takes to switch a treasurer . . .”
- An October 6, 2008 email discusses the submission of an amended campaign finance form to CPP.
- An October 22, 2008 email from LeFer to Witt includes as an attachment an attack mailer that was sent out against Brad Hamlett. (See Fact 2, Exhibit 1.)
- A November 26, 2008 email from Allison LeFer (see Fact 62) to Witt states: “I have had the guy who handles PAC filings compile yours. I wanted to get them to you for your signature so you can drop them off in the mail.”
- An email from Christian LeFer to Witt dated December 17, 2008, includes as an attachment a letter to CPP from Witt responding to the complaint filed against WTP and CEE. The email instructed Witt to sign the letter and fax it to CPP, followed with a hard copy to CPP.