Texas Fracking Billionaires have given to 70% of Montana GOP

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Two Texas billionaire brothers were the largest donors to Montana legislative races in 2012, giving $51,040 to more than 70 Republican legislators candidates.  That’s a lot of money in a state where the average legislative candidate only raises $6,537.

My colleague, Amanda Harrow, broke the full story yesterday at FollowTheMoney.org:

Dan and Farris Wilks, along with their wives, Staci and JoAnn, entered the world of Montana campaigns with a bang in 2012, giving a collective total of $51,040. Each of them gave to more than 70 candidates, all Republicans, and in most instances, they each gave the maximum allowed by law…

Sixty-four of the candidates they supported won; 63 are now legislators, and Tim Fox is the attorney general. Across both chambers, 70 percent of Republican legislators and 42 percent of the legislative body as a whole received contributions from the Wilkses during the 2012 election.

This Montana session should be full of bills to deal with the oil & gas boom in Eastern Montana, which has grown immensely since the last sessions. (The Legislative Fiscal Division has a nice chart showing  the growth from 2009). Legislators will have to deal with how to help towns like Sidney, where local infrastructure has been pushed to the limits by new construction  They might want to consider whether to continue allowing five percent of collected gas to be released straight into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.

As the report points out, fracking regulation is almost entirely left to state legislatures. In this case, 63 of them got substantial portions of their campaigns funded by the fracking industry.

The full list of the politicians who accepted donations from the Wilks Brothers is available here.

Tribune reporter John Adams also has a piece on the Wilks’.

CORRECTION: The first sentence of this piece misquoted the original FollowTheMoney post. The Wilks’ gave to more than 70 candidates, but only 63 of them became legislators. 70% of Republican legislators have received money from the Wilks Brothers.

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About the author

Tyler Evilsizer

Raised in Helena, Tyler's particularly passionate about the environment, transparency, and wonky budget policy. The views expressed are his own.

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Norma Duffy @Ilikewoods
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Norma Duffy @Ilikewoods

It Use to be that, Consturction and Indusrty Paid for all the infrastructure to make a housing track and gave that Infrastructure it made to local government. It kind of was entered in, as their share of the Burden. And it still happens in other states ,but not here in Montana. what a shame.
Even Federal government , I am sure has Money for that resource, but in Montana these GOP mangle it into something else for their Benefit. How did this state get that part of Industry coming into Montana so wrong!!!

James Conner
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Good report.

Craig Moore
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Craig Moore

Y’all remember the Sierra Club? Fracking is making natural gas development possible. It has received and kept over $26 million from Chesapeake Energy who is heavily involved in gas development. The Sierra Club has donated to many Montana Dems including Jon Tester.

n
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n

Chesapeake Energy the same energy company going under for all that coal ash? The Embattled CEO Aubrey McClendon who stepping down in April… because the company has to blame someone for all the poisoning done to new england residents?

Jeez Craig if this is your record of success I hate to see how many people will die from there stupidity in fracking!

Lynn
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Lynn

The Sierra Club is not a Business, it’s not buying people to vote for regulations that will increase their profits….

Craig Moore
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Craig Moore

Think it through. The Sierra Club is heavily involved with many for profit “green” business partners who contribute heavily to SC. Hand in glove relationships.

Craig Moore
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Craig Moore
Norma Duffy @ilikewoods
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Norma Duffy @ilikewoods

You didn’t answer her question Craig! Your getting good at misdirection!

And yes I am N above somehow my information save on chrome just didn’t go through!

Craig Moore
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Craig Moore

No question was asked. The Sierra Club has lobbyists in many states and the federal level. SC makes all sorts of political contributions, mainly to Dems. SC has all sorts of lash-ups with for profit corporations that, in turn, make contributions or provide a cut from sales or revenue streams, or a specific fee. That spans credit cards to specific product lines. So, non-profits like the Sierra Club benefit greatly from the financial success of for-profit corporations.

Norma Duffy @ilikewoods
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Norma Duffy @ilikewoods

These necessary evils are the very problem we need full disclosure of. I am not a Sierra Club member because of this very fact. It is also another reason I voted for Tester and Not Rehberg. I didn’t like a lot of Testers donations, but he Publically disclosed them, Unlike Rehberg who got caught twice trying to fudge the numbers. I am really hating this citizens United but, At least Max is taking the heat for donations he discloses, from US sources as well as Tester…. its out there… unlike Republicans who want dark Money, without a trail of breadcrumbs,… Read more »

Craig Moore
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Craig Moore

Norma, really??? No dark money behind electing Tester???? Were the sources ever revealed that funded the 3rd party conservative candidate other than what came out that it was lead by a Dem operation? Sheesh!!!! Why didn’t Tester call for those black funding sources to be outed?

Rob Kailey
Guest

Uhhm, actually, he has, Craig. He has called for transparency and an overturn of Citizen’s United. He even did that before the election. You don’t seem to care about that half as much as you seem to care that Jon Tester didn’t refuse money that helped him win. Gosh. Sorry.

Craig Moore
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Craig Moore

Robert, trying to remake history again? http://www.propublica.org/article/in-montana-dark-money-helped-democrats-hold-a-key-senate-seat Lip service is poor cover. The Montana Senate race also shows how liberal groups have learned to play the outside money game — despite griping by Democratic officials about the influence of such organizations. Liberal outside groups spent $10.2 million on the race, almost as much as conservatives. Conservatives spent almost twice as much from anonymous donors, but the $4.2 million in dark money that liberal groups pumped into Montana significantly outstripped the left’s spending in many other races nationwide. As in other key states, conservative groups devoted the bulk of their money… Read more »

Norma Duffy @ilikewoods
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Norma Duffy @ilikewoods

I see we are still a little Touchy about losing Craig? We Liberals fought against the very laws of Citizen United, and Lost… and when the supreme court pushed liberals aside… we had to use your now legal nasty tools to fight back… Republicans fought so hard for CU, so we had no choice but to beat you at your own game, with one inevitable truth–and that was if we didn’t use these same tools, we would lose to a flood of Corporate Money in GOP Coffers. Somehow this confuses me, Your Party had the Most black money and still… Read more »

Norma Duffy @ilikewoods
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Norma Duffy @ilikewoods

Lastly lets not forget our Money was disclosed, we told Americans were we got our Money no matter how queasy some of our Volunteers got, you party didn’t they hid as many dollars under the rugs as possible. thats why the GOP had to pay more for Ads, because FEC laws say superpacs pay more. we Liberals asked the faithful for direct donations to party and Politico…not superpacs

Craig Moore
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Craig Moore

From probublica: Liberal groups bought TV ads, too, but that was only part of their game plan. They spent their dark money on retail politics, hitting the streets and knocking on doors. In January, the League of Conservation Voters set up two offices in Montana — one in Missoula and one in Billings. It canvassed voters and hired a full-time organizer, reaching out to 28,000 sporadic voters to urge them to vote early by mail. Lindsay Love, the spokeswoman at Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana, another nonprofit that doesn’t report its donors for election spending, said the group targeted 41,000… Read more »

Lynn
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Lynn

If Rehberg had won, Craig would be telling us the “Dem’s just don’t know how to Fundraise”

Craig Moore
Guest
Craig Moore

Tyler, seems that this thread is dead.

Have you ever looked into who and what’s behind Montana Street Fighter as you once wrote that you would?

Also, have you looked into the political connections and palm greasing behind the federal and state govts turning a blind eye to killing eagles? http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324039504578259824223563736.html

Turner
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Turner

I ran unsuccessfully against Debby Barrett for Senate District 36. The most I could accept from a donor was $260. How come two guys were able to give her $640?

Douglas Sharbono
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Douglas Sharbono

Doug , If you enjoy Montana Public lands, you would be wise not to vote for any politician that accepts money from the Wilks brothers, the Farris, or Koch brothers. It is well known that Steve Daines, Greg Gianforta, is a puppet for the Koch brothers. People need to check out Randy Newberg on youtube.com. State land transfers. Its disgusting all the legislators that already have.

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