Republican Dark Money Group Promoting a Sham Green Candidate to Help Steve Daines

All week, the Montana Republican Party—the party that brought “corporations are people” and the Citizens United decision to our country—have been flopping like the world’s least ethical soccer player trying to score a penalty, crying about an independent expenditure that accurately depicts Steve Daines’s record of voting against Montana workers.

It’s a disingenuous performance from a party whose leadership believes that elections should be bought by the highest bidder. It’s also breathtakingly hypocritical.

Witness this ad that appeared in my Facebook feed today, purporting to support Green Party candidate Wendie Frederickson for the U.S. Senate. Paid for by “Go Green Montana PAC,” the ad suggests that voters can “support the green party agenda” by voting for Frederickson, who is as much a member of the Green Party as Matt Rosendale is a rancher.

Go Green Montana PAC filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on May 5 and lists William Murray of Missoula as its treasurer and a UPS store as its address. Talk about transparency.

It makes sense that the PAC is pushing this candidacy. Frederickson has a primary opponent in the race, Dennis Daneke, who entered the race because he knows that Frederickson is only running to hurt Governor Bullock in the general election. From KTVH:

Daneke told MTN News that on March 9, the last day of candidate filing, a Democratic friend called and told him that Republicans had recruited a Green Party candidate in the Senate race, with the intent to hurt Bullock.

I later received a quote from Daneke, who noted he is running to prevent dark money operatives from exploiting the Green Party ballot line:

I got into this so that Dark Money operatives wouldn’t have free reign to use Green Party values to serve their corporate agenda. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what we’re seeing here,” said Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate Dennis Daneke. “Green Party voters — don’t be fooled.”

The Montana Green Party has also disavowed the signature collection that got them on the 2020 ballot, a story we were the first to break in February.

It’s clear what Republican operatives are hoping for here: to get Frederickson on the ballot to siphon votes away from Bullock and, perhaps more importantly, potentially use a debate stage to make wild, unsubstantiated accusations about his tenure as governor.

Frederickson, who filed moments after Secretary of State Corey Stapleton approved the Green Party ballot line again, has no discernible web presence and a Facebook page that contains two pictures, both posted on April 30. She also has a personal grudge with Governor Bullock, something perhaps not best settled in a race for the U.S. Senate.

She is not a legitimate candidate for office in any form, and I hope Montana media outlets take that in mind when they cover the race.

This is the very definition of Republican dark money influence. A look at the server address hosting “Go Green Montana PAC” demonstrates that this is nothing more than a front for right-wing interests.

Other web sites served on that same domain include the one for Elsie Arntzen’s campaign page, an old site attacking Governor Bullock when he ran for President, campaign sites for Republicans across the country, and an array of front groups including one calling itself the “Clean Capitalist Coalition.”

I don’t think it takes much thought to come up with the name of someone in Montana politics who would sit at the center of the Venn Diagram of dirty money, sham Green Party candidacies, Montana Republican politics, and Astroturf front groups.

Republicans see this as a cheap investment to disrupt a Senate campaign. Let’s hope the Montana media treat it for what it is, another Republican dirty trick to help a very vulnerable Steve Daines.

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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  • Please note that Gary Marbut is running as a Green Party candidate in Missoula’s Senate District 47. There is no one less Green than Gary Marbut.

      • Bullshit, E.C. Gary “Bazookas for Babies” Marbut has had a few of his wacky bills pass, because there are plenty of knotheads in the legislature these days. But overall, more of his bills have gone done in flames than made it into law.

        • We can go session by session, and I am confident he has had more legislation passed than you realize.

          I think I’d bet a bottle of bourbon that he has passed five times the number of bills through the legislature than any other active lobbyist in Helena.

          Of course our NRA F-rated Gov vetoes any late season hunts or gun rights bills, it’s what Democrats do. ?

          Go to any of the pro Sportsman bills over the last sessions, and every single NO vote has a D behind their name.

  • Why did Daines go to Moscow on July 18, 2018. America’s Birthday? He went with 7 others Kennedy, Thune, Johnson, Moran, Hoeven, Granger!???????? Probably on the tax payer dime. Anyone know?

  • Thank you and Dennis Daneke for the info on Wendie…but as a former officer of the Montana Green Party, I feel qualified to ask, “Who the hell is Dennis Daneke?” because I have yet to talk to a Green that knows him either. If he is really a Green and legitimately running, he should talk to us on the Montana Green Party FaceBook page…so we don’t just assume he’s another Repuglican stalking horse.
    At present, our party has one potential write in and no known to me legitimate on ballot candidates and until we get some clarification, we must ask Green voters to use our primary ballot for write ins or repeatedly “None of the above”.

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