Congressman Zinke has an unfortunate tendency to associate with unsavory characters, from white supremacists to common scammers. This week, the Missoulian is reporting that Zinke will transfer a $5,700 donation from likely Ponzi-schemer and convicted felon Kevin Moore. The link between Moore and Zinke appears to be their shared connection with retired general Paul Vallely, who has called for an armed insurrection against the federal government and who purports to be conducting personal diplomacy and missions in Syria, working for groups at odds with US foreign policy.
The Missoulian story only hints at Vallely’s extremism, noting that he called for the arrest of President Obama for treasonous activities, but it really doesn’t expose just how deep his extremism runs. As I noted when I first ran the story in 2015, Vallely has called for an armed insurrection, prayed for a terrorist attack against the United States, endorsed birtherism, suggested President Obama has only remained in office because politicians fear a black uprising.
Vallely has a long relationship with Congressman Zinke, from helping launch his SuperPAC which began Zinke’s rise to national prominence.
In the Missoulian story, Valley attempted to distance himself from Moore, suggesting that he was lying about having been the group’s marketing director.
But he said Moore was never an employee of Stand Up America, and had “passed himself off” as the group’s marketing director.
“That’s what con men do,” Vallely said. “They work their way into your confidential circle, and then use you. That’s what he did to Congressman Zinke, and that’s what he did to us.”
That’s simply not true, as repeated sources on the Internet demonstrate. While Vallely’s organization has scrubbed the original post about the Zinke-Vallely-Moore meeting, they were the original authors of a piece that was picked up by the vast array of web sites and schemers in the alt-right media. This post, which I highlighted last August, is a copy of the original post at Stand Up America, where Kevin Moore was listed as the group’s Marketing Director, and comes complete with pictures of Valley, Zinke, Moore, and Wayne Simmons, another member of the group.
Simmons, you might remember, was recently convicted for misrepresenting his experience as a CIA agent. This certainly seems like a credible outfit for offering intelligence services to me.
The exact same story, also originally credited to Stand Up America, appears on this web site. And this one. Valley’s effort to deny that Moore was the marketing director for Stand Up America is simply impossible to believe, unless Valley’s own site was lying itself in 2015.
But that isn’t the only source. The conservative site Before it’s News described Kevin Moore as the group’s PR and Marketing Director in 2015—at an event attended by both Moore and Vallely. Stand Up America USA’s own Facebook page lists Moore at the contact person for a Stand Up America raffle.
And It’s even in mainstream press. The Daily Interlake referred to Moore as the business manager for the nonprofit Stand Up America founded by Ret. Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely back in 2014.
It’s just not credible that all of these sources, which all include Vallely in the story, were wrong about Moore’s role.
The Zinke campaign is also dishonestly spinning the Congressman’s connections to Kevin Moore. His spokeswoman Heather Swift tried to spin the connection between the two as just another just another fan boy desperate to have a photo taken with Congressman Zinke:
“The Congressman takes hundreds of photos a week with people. Some people like to have their picture taken with their Congressman or former Vice President and some of those people put them online.”
Hundreds of people a week are probably not invited to intimate dinners hosted by the Congressman and his wife in Washington. This is the photo and original caption from the Washington meeting with Vallely and Moore:
That’s hardly a spontaneous shot at a campaign event. It’s a private meeting with a scam artist and a retired general who seems to be running an even larger scam.
This story, which is coming very late, is just the tip of the iceberg and deserves serious attention from the press in the brief time left in this campaign. Congressman Zinke has linked himself to a retired general calling for treason, but perhaps more importantly, he’s become ensnared in the murky world of right-wing paranoid fundraising. His own campaign, which raises almost no money in Montana, began with a SuperPAC that General Vallely helped set up, and has continued to traffic in the underbelly of sham news and anti-Obama insanity, a system that’s making a lot of people a lot of money. Why is our Congressman connected to people and groups like this? And why is he lying about it?