Hanging on the Telephone

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.


  1. I think integrity is a quality that eludes much of the conservative right, from the president on down to Fox News and the anonymous cowards who post hateful screeds on the Internet.

  2. Binky Griptight

    Yes. A proud moment for the Republicans. I’m sure Montana trusts them a whole bunch more. And, where was Erik Iverson in all this? I’m surprised, nay shocked, that he doesn’t can these people. The party’s prospects are dimming, more so by the moment and it’s all on his watch.

  3. Just who exactly is Erik Iverson supposed to “can”? I doubt that he’s happy about any of this but it’s still a free country.

    I don’t know about the other groups but the Gun Owners Alliance is an oddball. The web site looks like it’s 10 years old and their questionnaire was a direct ripoff of the Gun Owners of America questionnaire. I didn’t answer it myself.

  4. Something tells me you wouldn’t be so sanguine, Carol, if you had been one of the Republicans who didn’t answer the survey and then were the target of their mailers.

  5. petetalbot

    I love it! Many of the candidates that were targeted by Koopman and the far, far right, and subsequently lost their races are now running as write ins — further splintering the Republican Party. It could be a sweet November for the Democrats, although the Democratic Montana Senate majority could be in jeopardy.

  6. goof houlihan

    There’s plenty of ideology cleaning on the left, too, Pete. I see a lot of posts about Hillary and Max that seem to indicate a similar “dino hunting” type mission. “True progressives” arent’ much different from “real republicans” when it comes to terrible governance.

  7. This Butcher guy seems to think that horse slaughter is humane AND good for Montana. After being quoted saying that horse slaughter is simple, “It’s boom!” he said. “The horse is deceased.” Animals are NOT dead when processed, it is the law. Where has Mr. Butcher been getting his facts? Horse slaughter is one of the least humane processes in the industry.

    For more information: http://www.animallawcoalition.com/horse-slaughter/article/685




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