2018 Election Montana Politics

Yeah right, dark money isn’t about influencing elections

The Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity is “not trying to influence elections,” according to Montana AFP’s director, David Herbst.

It just wants to “inform the public,” he says. That’s why AFP has spent $3,058,532, so far, in the 2018 election cycle. We certainly appreciate AFP’s useful information and, BTW, all that money has gone to Republican candidates.

MTN’s Mike Dennison interviewed Herbst trying to bring some balance to the movie “Dark Money,” which is touring the state. The film takes a hard look at AFP’s role in Montana’s 2010 legislative races (remember Art Wittich?).

“Balance” is an overrated term when it comes to discussions of dark money. Even Kalispell Republican Frank Garner agrees, “I don’t begrudge them the opportunity to express their opinion, but I think we should call it what it is: They’re trying to influence elections,” he said.

Herbst also claims privacy and free speech — meaning AFP doesn’t want to disclose its donors but does want to buy elections.

Herbst has been in the news before, threatening retribution for legislators voting to increase the minimum wage. That was during the 2016 session.

You would think there’d be lessons learned after ’08, ’10 and ’12 elections scandals. We’ll see if there’s a replay in 2018.





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Pete Talbot

'Papa’ Pete Talbot is first and foremost a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren. Like many Montanans, he has held numerous jobs over the years: film and video producer, a partner in a marketing and advertising firm, a builder and a property manager. He’s served on local and statewide Democratic Party boards. Pete has also been blogging at various sites for over a decade. Ping-pong and skiing are his favorite diversions. He enjoys bourbon.

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