Friday, October 21, 2016

Dark, Dark Money

Talk about dark money! What on earth are the Missoula County Republicans up to?

I was looking over my opponent’s latest campaign finance report recently and saw she reported that back in June, the Missoula County Republican Central Committee donated $1,400 to her campaign. That’s a pretty good chunk of cash, and got me wondering whether other Republican candidates had enjoyed the same largesse. And it turns out they did: according to their various individual fillings, Republican candidates in the county had received a total of $7,700 from their central committee.

Now that’s an even bigger chunk of cash channeled into campaigns, and it would be nice to know where it came from. And tracking that down shouldn’t be hard to do, because just like candidates, political party committees are supposed to file reports with the Commissioner of Political Practices detailing where they got their money and how they spent it. You can find that information on the Commissioner’s website. But here’s what the Missoula County Republican Central Committee's reports to the Commissioner tell us:

Essentially nothing.

The Missoula County Republicans have not filed a report since July 27, which means they have failed to account for their activity in August and September, as required by law.

Since the beginning of the year, when they started out with zero in the bank, they report that they have had no expenditures – not one penny – even though the candidates claim they got that total of $7,700.

According to their last report, they have $20,316.19 in the bank, all of which they say they took in during January and February. But again, contrary to the law, they provide absolutely zero information about where that money came from.

So there is $7,700 being spent by Republican candidates in Missoula county that comes from unknown sources. It may be the result of incompetence or negligence rather than anything more nefarious, but any way you slice it, that money’s about as dark as it can get.

By the way, it may look like the Republican candidates are blameless in all this – after all, they can’t force the central committee to file accurate and timely financial reports – but it’s not that simple.  Because guess what? It turns out that two of the candidates getting donations – Adam Hertz and Sashin Hume - are executive officers of the Missoula County Republican Central Committee!