The Bozeman Daily Chronicle is, arguably, Montana’s most extreme pro-government publication. For years, the newspaper has poured out steady support for government control over political messaging under the auspices of campaign-finance regulation. (‘The private sector must never defend itself from regulation!’)
It is rare that one reads the word “shadowy” outside the editorial pages of a newspaper. But the Chronicle has printed the word in actual “news” reports about some of Montana’s private political advocacy groups. The Chronicle has probably printed the phrase “dark money” on hundreds of occasions while describing Montana’s political landscape. The Chronicle has even printed the word “corruption” in stories about politicians who dared to allow nonprofit groups to support or echo their messaging. (‘How dare they!’)
It is doubtful that the BDC’s readers have a good grasp of what the Chronicle has been hinting at; but a reader would be forgiven for thinking the Chronicle had unearthed some scandal involving secret bribery under darkness of night.
Now, after years of reporting on the “shadowy” world of private-sector political advocacy, the Chronicle has revealed its evidence (see here):
thousands of pages of documents obtained by Montana Political Czar Jon Motl indicating that Right-to-work groups “provided services and labor to certain candidates [also known as volunteer work] without disclosing [to the government] what was done or how much was spent.”
“In some cases, the documents show, those groups gave away those services for free.”