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Thursday, October 29,2009

Montana-based org. pours cash into conservative coffers in Longmont City Council race

By Jefferson Dodge

Western Tradition

Western Tradition Partnership, a 501(c)4 organization, was founded in Montana in 2007 and was incorporated as a nonprofit in Colorado in March 2008. According to Colorado Secretary of State records, the registered agent who filed those articles of incorporation is Scott Shires of Aurora.

The Rocky Mountain News reported in June 2008 that Shires was given a year’s probation and fined $3,450 after pleading guilty to misdemeanor tax charges. The article says that Shires, who worked on the campaign of former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer, was in business with William Orr of Parker, who was convicted of fraud and other charges in May 2008 after being accused of misleading investors and falsifying documents to secure a $3.6 million federal grant to study alternative fuels. Shires, who recruited Schaffer to serve on the board that Orr created to administer the grant, testified against Orr as part of a plea agreement, the paper reported.

According to stories published by The Colorado Independent, Shires was involved in a money-shifting controversy with the Trailhead Group in 2006, and has been accused of sidestepping campaign-finance regulations on other occasions.

WTP is described on its website as a “fast-growing grassroots organization dedicated to ‘Rediscovering the Treasures of America’ through rational, responsible natural resource development and land use policy, while freemarket-oriented solutions are developed for future needs.”

It has taken a decidedly pro-business, anti-government approach in several of the battles it has chosen. It opposes cap and trade and the imposition of a carbon tax, questions the idea that humans have caused global warming, fights government roadblocks to private energy producers and combats the government’s taking of private development, water or mineral rights from landowners without just compensation. WTP leaders say it was the LifeBridge land-use issue that piqued their interest in Longmont’s election.

In press releases issued in Montana and Colorado after the general election last year, WTP proudly declared that, due in part to the groups’ efforts, voters had said “no” to the “radical environmentalists’ agenda” in several races.

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This campaign is a repeat of the last - tons of deep-pocket money, anonymous attackers and right-wing candidates coyly denying complicity.


The trail of connections is quite clear - the group trying to worm their way onto Longmont's Council are working together with the obvious assist of rightwing power brokers.

Hopefully the residents of Longmont will see the truth and deliver another decisive blow to the Old Guard and help Longmont shake off the ghosts of the past.


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This is a good article.  I'm glad somebody finally wrote a substantive piece about the sleazy groups that are trying to buy the Longmont election.  I urge all Longmont voters not to be fooled by rightwing propaganda - vote for Lange, Benker, Fissinger and Van Dusen. 



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