Posted: Oct 31, 2012 7:44 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
A group of protesters rallied in Helena on Wednesday responding to a recent news investigation that alleges that a political group is illegally running candidates' campaigns.
PBS aired an investigation on Tuesday night that documents the involvement of American Tradition Partnership, a Colorado-based conservative advocacy group that was founded in 2008 in Montana as the Western Tradition Partnership. PBS and a federal election investigator said documents found in a Colorado meth house point to illegal cooperation between the group and politicians running for office.
The protesters say it's time to stand up to secret money in politics.
ATP is recognized as a 501-C-4 organization, meaning they do not have to disclose their donors, and based on the Citizens United U.S. Supreme Court ruling, they also have the right to free speech.
Gov. Brian Schweitzer attended the rally and said, "ATP is not a person, not even close. They live in a post office box. It's not possible that a corporation is a person. They don't bleed. They don't fight for our country. They can't be a person. I have nothing against a corporation, it's a collection of people. But it is not a person."
The group marched down to the office of Helena attorney Jim Brown, who represents ATP.
Brown issued the following statement: "I support their right to exercise their First Amendment right to peacefully assemble, in the same way I support the rights of all Americans, including my clients, to engage in free speech and association free from government interference."