Jake Eaton Wants to Profit From Dark Money, Create ATP 2.0

Following today’s primarily Republican press conference announcing an initiative effort to blockJake-Eaton-headshot_thumb the scourge of anonymous dark money in Montana politics, the press had to look no further than Republican operative Jake Eaton to find an opponent to clean, open elections:

Jake Eaton, a Republican consultant, calls this is a “solution to create a problem,” and says that members of Montana Base are hypocritical, trying to hide the truths that dark money ads reveal.

You remember Mr. Eaton, right? He’s the Republican Executive Director who led the effort to disenfranchise Native Americans, college students, war veterans, and the elderly back in 2008. The person judge Donald Malloy mocked mercilessly in one of the most entertaining court decisions I’ve ever had the chance to read. The person who helped lead Denny Rehberg to defeat in 2012.

Eaton is also a principal at the state’s  worst political consulting firm, 47 North Communications.

And why might Mr. Eaton be especially interested in dark money legislation? He’s probably planning to benefit at both ends of the business—providing terrible political strategy and printing misleading attack ads. He and 47 North partner Dustin Frost took over a Billings printing firm devoted to direct marketing and mailing earlier this spring:

AlphaGraphics of Billings, a full service print communications company, is locally owned and operated by Jake Eaton and Dustin Frost. Founded in 1994, the firm offers a full range of design services, digital and offset printing, document services, signs, banners, vehicle graphics, finishing, direct marketing and mailing services.

No doubt AlphaGraphics will be “entirely independent” from 47 North when it produces campaign mailers, too.

Let’s recap. A conservative political consulting group with an ethically suspect principal buys a “direct marketing and mailing services” firm just as the last major dark money organization in Montana appears ready to vanish? And then volunteers to speak for secretive campaign donations and attacks?

We’re one meth house away from another PBS Frontline report.

Of course Mr. Eaton wants to work against the will of Montana voters and sensible members of his own party. It’s in his financial interest to do so.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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  • What a dork. Let him lead the GOP and the ‘baggers’ over the cliff. A recent poll of young people when asked to respond to ‘GOP’ answered back – racist, intolerant, old-fashioned, out of touch, etc. Will Eaton personally administer the genetic purity test also along with the idealogical purity test?

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