Archive for June 29th, 2008

by Rebecca Schmitz

Imagine being Rep. Roger Koopman for a moment. No, really. Go drink a quadruple shot of espresso, yell at your kids, kick a fawn–whatever it takes to get that angry and aggressive. Imagine yourself wanting to purge your political party of people you feel are “socialists”. Imagine finding like minded individuals to help you achieve this goal. Surely, like you, these people would be so proud of their activities and opinions they would openly reveal themselves to the voters and the media, right? Right?

Not these guys.

Whether or how these groups coordinated their efforts is unclear. Officials from most of the groups did not return telephone messages, ignored e-mails or declined to say much about what they are doing. What is unusual about most of this latest collection of groups…is their formation just before the election and their relative obscurity and secrecy, says state Political Practices Commissioner Dennis Unsworth.

Apparently Koopman’s (and John Sinrud’s–he has ties to some of the groups, and Ed Butcher’s–but we’re all used to Ed and his family being less than forthcoming about their political associates) pals don’t answer the telephone, provide their phone number, let alone provide the correct digits, or even stay on the phone once they’ve said “Hello?”

Speaking of Ed Butcher, since these groups have become his BFFs let’s remember what District Judge Dirk Sandefur said two years ago, when he declared that Butcher’s son’s efforts to influence Montana politics were marked by a “pervasive and general pattern of fraud”:

At least 43 of the signature-gatherers, who vouched for thousands of signatures, listed “false or fictitious” addresses on their sworn affidavits turned in with the signatures, Sandefur noted. That violation alone casts doubt on the petitioners’ credibility, and that oath is critical to guarding the integrity of the initiative process, he said.

Credibility. Integrity. Qualities that start with simply putting the correct e-mail address down on a form. Or just picking up the phone.

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