The Frontline special “Big Sky, Big Money” was pretty amazing. The dark money issue isn’t going away- and the cloudier the issue becomes, the longer it will be with us- and it is getting cloudier. But first, I wanted to share a few things about one of the key figures of last night’s broadcast.
Jim Brown, the lawyer for Western Traditions Partnership intrigued me.
From The Atlantic:
When asked about the documents found in Colorado, Jim Brown, a lawyer for the group, said he was unfamiliar with them.
After being shown some of the documents by Frontline, Brown, in a follow up email, said his review indicated that they appeared to belong to a company called Direct Mail. Direct Mail and Communications is a print shop in Livingston, Montana, run by a one-time key player in WTP and his wife.
Brown urged Frontline to turn over the documents. “If the documents are purported to be what you say they are, then you may knowingly be in possession of stolen property,” Brown wrote.
The records are in the hands of the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices, which considers them public and reviewable upon request.
Who is this Jim Brown- the Republican Party’s legal counsel- AND the legal counsel to Western Tradition Partnership? The Commissioner of Political Practices website allows you to track who registered lobbyists are working for. The list of his clientele is VERY interesting…
- List of his 2011 lobbing clients: https://app.mt.gov/cgi-bin/camptrack/lobbysearch/lobbySearch.cgi?ACTION=LOBBYDETAIL_ALL&LOBBYID=5035&SESSION=2012
- List of his 2009 lobbying clients: https://app.mt.gov/cgi-bin/camptrack/lobbysearch/lobbySearch.cgi?ACTION=LOBBYDETAIL_ALL&LOBBYID=4516&SESSION=2010
- And his blog for the Billings Gazette from the Republican National Convention: http://billingsgazette.com/news/opinion/guest/blog-montanan-at-the-republican-national-convention/article_a1186a00-ef90-11e1-8455-0019bb2963f4.html
On Monday, LeFer also confirmed the documents found in a meth house were stolen from his wife’s car and belonged to him and his wife, Allison. The documents included material from outside groups and candidates, and communications between LeFer and candidates. There were surveys of candidates by outside groups and drafts and final copies of mailers marked as being paid for by the campaigns.
LeFer, described as WTP’s director of strategic programming in memos in 2009, said in an email that the boxes of documents were stolen in Colorado in June 2010.
“These stolen documents appear to be a mix of those from my consulting and volunteer work and from my wife’s independently owned and operated mail and printing shop,” wrote LeFer, whose wife runs a company called Direct Mail and Communications in Livingston, Mont. “Both my wife and I have scrupulously endeavored to avoid any possibility of illegal coordination.
“The stolen documents, which were in the process of being transferred to storage when the theft occurred, have been mingled to infer that the work of two separate people is in fact the work of one person and therefore improper. This is false.” (Here is LeFer’s full response.)
Like I said: cloudier.
- More Evidence Key Dark Money Group May Have Misled IRS (pbs.org)
- Conservative political `dark money’ group in news again over stolen documents, allegations (billingsgazette.com)
- Documents Found in Meth House Bare Inner Workings of Dark Money Group (crooksandliars.com)
- Big Sky, Big Money (dgsmith.org)
- More Evidence Key Dark Money Group May Have Misled IRS (propublica.org)