A liberal environmental group based in Billings announced Monday that it was launching a $500,000 canvassing effort in Bozeman and two other cities to help re-elect Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock.
Reporter Mike Dennison quickly pointed out that the Montana Conservation Voters Action Fund would be using anonymous “dark money” to fund the door-to-door canvassing — the irony being that Bullock has long been a critic of “dark money” used to influence elections but will benefit from it this year.
In response to MCV’s news release, the Chronicle asked when the money would be publicly disclosed. Clayton Elliot, the Democrat who heads MCV, said the report would be filed the next day.
“MCVAF will be filing tomorrow, Aug. 9, which is the next deadline. We will report the first contribution from the League of Conservation Voters Political Engagement Committee,” Elliot said.
But it wasn’t. The fund’s balance actually dropped from $17,854 to $15,673, according to the new report. If and when Elliot does disclose the money, it will still be “dark money” in that there is no way for the public to know where it came from except for an address in Washington, D.C.
Asked for clarification on Thursday, Elliot said the $500,000 “will be on the report due Sept. 1. The contribution was received between July 26-Aug. 26.”
And on Facebook, MCV is still advertising for employees, and no new salary payments have been reported by the MCVAF, indicating that the “dozen staff” that Elliot said would be working in Missoula, Bozeman and Livingston have not been hired.