A liberal environmental group has abandoned any attempt to convince Montanans to vote for Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), and is instead funding an ad campaign for the libertarian candidate. It’s all part of an effort to try and steal votes that would otherwise go to the Republican, Congressman Denny Rehberg (R-MT).
That’s how the Rehberg campaign describes what was recently reported as a $500,000 TV ad buy funnelled from the League of Conservation Voters.
Here’s how Chuck Johnson first reported the story over the weekend:
The ad is funded by the Montana Hunters and Anglers Leadership Fund, a political-action committee financed earlier this year by the League of Conservation Voters, a leading conservation and environmental group backing Tester.
Rehberg’s campaign manager, Erik Iverson, said he found it extraordinary that Tester’s supporters are now essentially telling voters to vote for someone else.
“It’s remarkable that, with a little over a week to go before Election Day, that Jon Tester’s supporters have basically thrown in the towel to get more Montanans to vote for Tester, and they’re now trying to get people to vote for the Libertarian instead of Denny Rehberg,” he said. “They seem to simply have given up the case that Jon Tester should be re-elected.”
The Montana Watchdog’s Dustin Hurst has more details on the relationship between the environmental group propping up the libertarian candidate and the Tester campaign:
Lest any politicos think the move represents an endearing endorsement of Cox’s policies, it’s not. MHAA, mind you, is full of some of Tester’s closest associates. Land Tawney, president of the front group, served as an adviser to Tester’s office on sportsmen’s issues. The Democratic senator included praise from Tawney in at least one news release.
MHAA’s treasurer, Barrett Kaiser, is one of Montana’s top Democratic political operatives. He works for Hilltop Public Solutions, a left-leaning consulting firm based in Washington, D.C., but operates MHAA out of his Billings office. Kaiser, who worker for Tester’s campaign in 2006, also stands behind Citizens for Strength and Security Fund, another left-wing front group created simply to prop up the junior senator from Montana.
MHAA doesn’t have to immediately disclose its finances, so there’s no telling who, if anyone in particular, funded the ad. Earlier this summer, the League of Conservation Voters, which in its own right is pouring millions of dollars into the race, transferred more than $400,000 to MHAA earlier this year.
Chris Bond, spokesman for the Rehberg campaign added this note Saturday:
It clearly shows that Tester and his liberal allies have given up on convincing more Montanans to vote for him, and instead are actively campaigning on behalf of a third-party candidate, spending more than half-a-million dollars in the hopes that they can fool Montanans into throwing their votes to a spoiler. It speaks volumes about the predicament Tester is in, that his supporters are admitting this deceptive campaign tactic is his only hope of holding the seat. For some perspective on Tester’s desperation, the Libertarian candidate polled at 1% in the most recent independent poll where he was named.