Secretive Conservative Group’s Bank Records Released

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – Montana campaign finance regulators have released the bank records of a secretive conservative group behind many candidate attack ads and challenges to the state’s election laws.

Judge Jeffrey Sherlock on Friday ordered the release of the American Tradition Partnership files collected by the state.

The records include hundreds of pages of account transactions and copies of checks to consultants and vendors in Montana, Colorado and the Washington, D.C., area.

The group launched in 2008 as a tax-exempt social welfare organization named Western Tradition Partnership.

It took in $515,000 that October, weeks before the 2008 election. Days later, a total of $500,000 was transferred to the anti-union National Right to Work Committee.

Sherlock has promised to sanction the group for failing to produce records in a case where it is fighting allegations of illegal electioneering.

AP reporter Matt Volz contributed to this report.

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